Cardiff City headlines as Josh Murphy’s Preston return not ruled out, McCarthy’s role in Ipswich transfer revealed and the rise of Reading’s boot boy

Here are your Cardiff City headlines for Friday, September 10.

McCarthy does not rule out Murphy return

Mick McCarthy has not ruled out the possibility of Cardiff City re-signing Josh Murphy, even though he was sent on loan in the final year of his contract.

The winger was signed by Preston North End with just seconds to go before the 11pm deadline and McCarthy explained the reasoning behind his departure.

“Josh has not been playing here. It has been a bit bitty for him, in terms of what he’s done here,” McCarthy said.

“He’s not been in the side, we’ve been playing with wing backs, which doesn’t suit him. He needs to play.

“He is coming out of his contract next year.

“If he goes to Preston and rips it up, who knows, there may be some value in him in terms of re-signing him.

“He needs to play games, he wasn’t getting that here.”

READ MORE: Mick McCarthy’s verdict on Josh Murphy’s future and Preston move

Moore a fitness concern?

McCarthy did little to allay fears that Kieffer Moore was short of training hours ahead of the away trip to Nottingham Forest this weekend.

The Wales striker missed the latest set of internationals as he was isolating after being deemed a close contact to compatriot Adam Davies, who tested positive for Covid-19.

Moore was forced to isolate for 10 days and only returned to Cardiff training on Thursday, when he spent some time with the club physio.

And, heading into this Sunday’s Championship clash with Forest at the City Ground, McCarthy hinted that Moore’s lack of training over the last week and a half might be cause for a late selection call this weekend.

“His first day back was yesterday and he did a bit of work with the physios,” McCarthy said in his Friday press conference. “I know he looks after himself, he’s in great shape, but he’s not been football training. He’s not done anything.

“He missed a good bit of it beforehand having had Covid.

“He came back and had his game against Bristol and then he has gone away and done nothing for two weeks. This is his first day back really.

“He can’t be up to full speed. He has not been on the grass or doing football training. You can run as much as you like, but as soon as you get on the grass it’s different.

“I’d expect him to be wanting to get 20 goals and showing everyone what they’ve missed, everybody that wanted him, show them what a good Championship player he is.”

Meanwhile, skipper Sean Morrison said he is not 100 percent after hurting his knee in the cup defeat by Brighton, but said he would soldier on, as ever, this weekend.

“I had a bit of a strain on the medial ligament of my knee in the cup game,” Morrison said. “We assessed it before Bristol and made the decision it was worth the risk to play with the two-week break.

“I’ve only missed one day of training. We have managed it OK, it’s still not 100 percent but it’s much better than two weeks ago.

“Lads are constantly nursing injuries or knocks and niggles.

“I can’t remember the last time I haven’t had a niggle. My elbow still gives me a bit of aggro from the end of last season.

“It’s just about trying to manage it as best as possible through the week.”

Rob Dickie’s rise

Sean Morrison revealed that Rob Dickie, who was nominated for Championship Player of the Month and has scored four goals in all competitions from centre-back, used to be his ball boy while at Reading.

Dickie is in fine goalscoring form, as is Cardiff centre-back Aden Flint, who has notched four in the league already this term.

Morrison has chipped in with one himself, too, and is known for chipping in with a few set-piece tap-ins throughout the season.

It seems he taught Dickie everything he knows.

“Rob was my boot boy at Reading, he has been incredible this season!” Morrison said.

“It’s great to see. When you watch a young player come through at Reading and do as well as he has. It’s amazing to see.

“Flinty is about 9ft tall. If you whack the ball into the atmosphere he will head it in the goal at some point!

“For the first few years I was here we had Whitts (Peter Whittingham), now Joe Ralls, Gilo (Ryan Giles), Marlon (Pack). If they put it in the right area and you’re willing to attack with everything you’ve got, you give yourself a chance.

“You’ve got Kieffer, myself, Flinty, Nels, who would die to go and head that ball!”

Giles’ league-leading stats

Speaking of amazing deliveries, one stat shows just how brilliant Ryan Giles has been since arriving on loan from Wolves this season.

He has quickly emerged as a very important player for the Bluebirds, impressing supporters with his pace and agility down the flank in the early throes of the season.

But the most impressive aspect of his play has, without a doubt, been his delivery into the box.

And the numbers show that Giles is the most dangerous crosser of the ball in the Championship at the minute.

Giles has completed 23 accurate crosses so far in this campaign, eight more than the next best on the list, which is Welsh-qualified Huddersfield Town winger Sorba Thomas – who on Friday beat Aden Flint to the Championship Player of the Month award.

That left boot of Giles’ is going to come in handy this season, one suspects.

He is already top of the charts in the Championship when it comes to assists, having registered four already.

Tomlin and Vassell updates

The most unfortunate duo in Cardiff City’s squad have suffered further setbacks on their roads to recovery in what is another frustrating blow.

Cardiff’s 2019/20 Player of the Season Lee Tomlin has not kicked a ball since he underwent a groin operation 11 months ago, while Isaac Vassell has had only fleeting appearances for the Bluebirds’ under-23s since his quad injury in September 2019.

And, unfortunately, the end does not appear to be in sight for either of them, with McCarthy stating he had no idea of a timeline for when they might be back in the team.

“Isaac Vassell is self-isolating,” the Bluebirds boss said.

“He did his thigh two weeks ago but now he is self-isolating because he is a close contact of someone who had Covid.

“And Lee Tomlin went to see a specialist at the beginning of the week, on Monday, he has an issue with the groin he had an operation on.”

You can read the full story here.

Under-23s up at Hillsborough

Two players on the cusp of the first team laid down another marker by scoring in Cardiff City under-23s’ victory up at Sheffield Wednesday on Friday morning.

The Hillsborough fixture, which kicked off at 11pm, presented Steve Morison with the opportunity to throw in a few of the youngsters who had just returned from international break.

One of those, of course, was Kieron Evans. Mick McCarthy name checked the Wales youth international on Friday morning, when he said he did not feel the need to fill the void left by Josh Murphy’s exit owing to Evans, Isaak Davies, Rubin Colwill and Mark Harris coming through.

And Evans, who is in excellent form this season, found the back of the net, firing into the top corner, to give City the lead against the young Owls.

Another who could well feature for the first team this season is Chanka Zimba. The young striker scored in the pre-season friendly against Cambridge United and ever since McCarthy appears to have kept tabs.

Well he did his first-team chances no harm on Friday when he slotted to double Cardiff’s lead against Wednesday just before the break.

The Bluebirds saw out the game when Evans belted home a stunning free-kick to snatch his second of the game and the Welsh side’s third, registering their third win as many games to kick-off the campaign in the process.

Encouraging signs from the under-23s so far this term.

Rangers and Celtic in for Brown

Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers are said to be keeping tabs on Cardiff City defender Ciaron Brown with the defender’s contract set to run out next summer.

Mick McCarthy this summer revealed that he had offered the player a new deal, but the centre back had yet to put pen to paper.

That all came amid intense interest from Brown’s former Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock, who wanted to take him up at Middlesbrough during the summer transfer window.

McCarthy claimed Boro’s bid was “nowhere near enough” and the Northern Ireland international ended up staying put.

But no news has been forthcoming regarding Brown signing fresh terms with the Bluebirds.

Now, Football League World claim that Celtic and Rangers are watching intently to see what transpires regarding Brown’s contract situation in the Welsh capital.

Brown gained admirers during the most recent of his three loan spells up at Livingston in the Scottish Premiership.

His latest spell at the Tony Macaroni Arena drew much praise from those north of the border, indeed it was why McCarthy moved so quickly to bring him back to Cardiff, having been tipped off by a scout friend of his up in Scotland.

One of Brown’s most defining performances was against Celtic, in fact, back in January, when he scored and assisted during a 2-2 draw with the Hoops.

You can read the full story here.

Ipswich leant on McCarthy for Celina signing

Ipswich Town sealed the loan signing of former Manchester City and Swansea City winger Bersant Celina on deadline day.

He joined on loan from French outfit Dijon for his second spell at Portman Road, the first coming while Bluebirds boss Mick McCarthy was in charge of the Tractor Boys.

And Ipswich boss Paul Cook revealed he sought advice from McCarthy over his signing and the Cardiff manager was glowing in his praise of the wide man.

“I’ve got to say I’ve heard so many good stories about Bersant before I’d met him and I’d spoken to [former Town boss] Mick McCarthy about him who was so complimentary about him it was untrue, about his appetite to get better and how much he loves football and wants to play,” Cook said of Celina.

“And I’ve got to tell our supporters a little story. When he came in the first day and he wasn’t allowed to train with what goes on around it [Covid protocols], so he actually took a ball home to practice at home, and it’s something that made me very proud.

“To have such a talented boy come in, staying in a hotel and asking if he could take a ball home because he wanted to practice.

“And I can guarantee our fans, whatever happens, we’ve got a really good player on our hands that I’m sure our fans will be very excited to watch.

“They’ve seen him before. In my opinion, I’ve watched his career from playing against him, managing against him. He’s matured as a lad, he’s matured probably as a person, and he’s desperate [for success].

“The biggest positive we had in our favour when we went for him was how much he loved Ipswich Town Football Club.

“It wasn’t for Paul Cook, and it wasn’t for [CEO] Mark Ashton, it wasn’t for the new board, with the greatest respect, it was the experience he’d had playing at Portman Road and our supporters. So a massive pat on the back to them.”

Vote for your Bluebirds Player of the Month

Cardiff City have announced their three-man shortlist for August’s Player of the Month.

Unsurprisingly, top scorer Aden Flint is in the mix, along with Marlon Pack and Wolves loanee Ryan Giles.

Of the nominees, Cardiff wrote…

Aden Flint

“Having ended the month as joint top-scorer in the Sky Bet Championship, centre-back Aden Flint was on fire in the opening weeks of the new campaign! His brace to earn a point against Peterborough United was followed up by another days later, this time at home against Millwall.”

Ryan Giles

“Whilst Flint tops the table for goals scored so far this season, Ryan Giles has earned his place atop the divisional table for assists, with four thus far. The winger has dazzled with his pace and crossing ability, setting up four goals across the opening five league fixtures.”

Marlon Pack

“With three assists and a goal to his name already, Marlon Pack has certainly enjoyed the start of his third season as a Bluebird! Having opened the scoring for our campaign with an impressive header against Barnsley at the start of August, the midfielder has done more than his share in defence and attack.”

You can register your vote here.

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