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Bad news for Cardiff City ahead of crucial Birmingham City match

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Neil Warnock has revealed he’ll be without several key players for the match against Birmingham this weekend.

Cardiff are four points clear of third placed Aston Villa and keen to cement their place amongst the automatic promotion candidates.

The task has been made harder with the absence of several players, as confirmed by Inside Wales Sport.

Firstly, Joe Ralls won’t return before the international break, after sitting out the 2-1 victory against Barnsley.

That means he’ll miss at least the next three matches:

“He has a problem with his knee,” Warnock said. “We’re not sure how long he will be out. He won’t be available in the near future.”

Callum Paterson is another on the injury list, he limped off during Tuesday night’s game and although he’ll miss the weekend’s clash, his injury isn’t as bad as first thought.

“He had a scan and there’s nothing untoward. It was sore because it was the knee he had the operation on but it’s nothing to do with that injury, it was the other side. You know what Patters is like, it takes something to get him going.”

Sean Morrison is another recent absentee, he picked up an injury in the away win at Ipswich and has been out since.

“Morrison is training really hard. We’re going to put a game on today to test him a little bit but I said to him, ‘I don’t want you playing and ending up missing another five weeks’. I’d rather him miss out and come back for Brentford.”

Matthew Connolly hasn’t been out yet, but Warnock revealed he too has a knock and could miss the game.

“Connolly had a knock too so we’re a bit thin. In normal circumstances none of them would be back but there aren’t too many games left now. But I don’t want to do too many gambles because I don’t want even more out. It’ll be picking the fittest of the injured lads.”

Cardiff have climbed to second despite the injuries and several other long-term absentees. Icelandic talisman Aron Gunnarsson has been out since November, but Warnock refuses to search for excuses

“I’ve had a good look back in my career and I don’t think I’ve had 11 major players who would get in your team and we haven’t moaned about it. The players who have come in have done really well. We’ve been limited but we’ve managed to get results and we’re not going to play fantastic with so many out. I’m proud of them.”

The Verdict

Football is a squad game, but Neil Warnock is down to the bare bones of his squad.

We are at the business end of a long and gruelling season though and he won’t be the only promotion challenging side to suffer through injuries. If they could get Aron Gunnarsson back it would be a huge boost, for them and for Iceland in this summer’s World Cup.

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