Cardiff City boss Neil Harris has revealed that midfielder Lee Tomlin will miss between six to eight weeks of action after suffering a serious knee injury in training.
Tomlin was in line to make his 22nd league start of the season against Stoke this weekend, but the attacking midfielder sustained the injury in training towards the end of the week and he will now miss a considerable chunk of Cardiff’s final run-in this term.
The promotion-chasing Bluebirds slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Stoke in Tomlin’s absence, with this meaning Harris’ men have now fallen six points adrift of sixth-placed Preston following a run of form which had propelled them into play-off contention.
Speaking to the club website, Harris placed the timeframe on Tomlin’s injury setback and, while the Cardiff boss admitted the midfielder’s absence has come as a blow, he also added that this now presents an opportunity for others to shine.
“He’s going to be out 6-8 weeks unfortunately. We wish him well,” Harris said.
“It’s a blow to lose someone with the quality of Lee. Now we need others to take this opportunity.”
Tomlin has been one of the most important players during a rollercoaster season for the Bluebirds this term, with the 31-year-old having scored seven goals and registered seven assists during a highly productive season from his attacking-midfield role.
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This is a massive blow for Cardiff’s play-off hopes given that Tomlin has become one of their key attacking players over the last few months, with his creativity and vision helping the Bluebirds to unlock opponents’ defences at crucial moments.
It will be interesting to see how Harris learns to adjust without Tomlin in the side given the midfielder has been available throughout the Cardiff boss’ tenure so far, with Tomlin having only now not started three league matches under Harris.
Tomlin’s forced omission from the starting line-up saw Danny Ward partner Callum Paterson up top for the Welsh side, but Harris should now start experimenting with a number of attacking set-ups to find the best solution in Tomlin’s absence.