Date:Friday March 23 2007
Cardiff City manager Dave Jones has failed in his bid to recruit a central defender on emergency loan and will now make do with the options he has already at Ninian Park.
Jones had been scouring the market for a suitable replacement for Dutch stopper Glenn Loovens, sidelined for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. The blow has left Jones with just Roger Johnson and club captain Darren Purse as recognised centre-halves. Add to that, that Purse has not played for the first team since January and Cardiff looked to have a problem.
Purse has played 2 hours of reserve team football and has now been in full training for several weeks. He is fit and available for the visit of Sunderland and will hope to use his experience to cover any lack of match fitness.
In case of injury / suspension to either player, Kevin McNaughton could cover as a makeshift centre-half having performed well in the position to date despite a slip up against Derby that allowed Giles Barnes through on goal. Midfielder Simon Walton has also played at centre-back and would be another option in an emergency.
Despite searching for a suitable loan defender, interest in Aston Villa man Liam Ridgewell and James Collins of West Ham was rebuffed and Jones found Premiership clubs unwilling to allow their players to leave. Championship clubs, understandably, were also not prepared to help given the promising position Cardiff find themselves in.
The Bluebirds have their squad finalised for the promotion push now, and have the depth to cope with most problems. it's now down to the players. If Cardiff win 4 of their remaining 8, and pick up another couple of draws they should find themselves in the play-offs - and anything could then happen.
Date:Friday March 23 2007
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