Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay says Darcy Blake 'in his plans'

Wales defender Darcy Blake challenges Switerland's Innocent Emeghara
Darcy Blake played the full 90 minutes for Wales against Switzerland

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay says Darcy Blake is "definitely involved" in his plans despite failing to win a regular place this season.

Blake has started at centre-back in Wales' last four competitive games, but limped off injured after 41 minutes in Tuesday's 1-0 win in Bulgaria.

Mackay has put Blake's absences down to lack of fitness after injury.

But former Wales striker Iwan Roberts has said that the 22-year-old should consider moving from Cardiff.

"Darcy's definitely involved in my plans," Mackay told a news conference on Friday.

Blake's injuries in the three months Mackay has been with the club, including a shin-splint problem, have impeded his inclusion, according to the Cardiff manager.

"He's already had two injuries in the first three months with me... you need to be fit and available regularly to be considered for starting games," added Mackay, who took over in June after Dave Jones' sacking.

"Darcy's someone that needs to now cement his future somewhere, and he's got his targets from me."

Blake could start at centre-back in Saturday's home Championship clash with Ipswich if he overcomes the calf problem that forced him off in Sofia.

But Mackay revealed he has set targets for Blake to improve his all-round game and fitness.

"He knows that fitness plays a big part in playing regular football and, because of the injuries, he's probably not been as fit as he could've been," Mackay added.

"That's something that he's worked on hard and he's working with our sports science team at the moment."

Blake has been deployed in a number of positions in midfield and defence, but Mackay sees his best position at centre-back and had only played Blake in midfield against Portsmouth because of injury.

"He played at midfield for a reason... I don't see him as a centre-midfielder... his best position is at centre-back and I think that's where he sees his best postion as well," Mackay said.

Bluebirds captain Mark Hudson said the team does not want Blake to move and that the youngster has been "outstanding" at international level.

"I've seen part of the last couple of games he's played and he's been brilliant," Hudson said.

"He's played in a number of positions already this year for us and he has got that utility, he can play comfortably at any position: central midfield, central defence, left-back, right-back.

"So he's a great player to have in your squad... I'm sure he'll be chomping at the bit to get in the [Cardiff] team."

Asked if Blake should move on, Hudson added: "No, we wouldn't welcome that at all. He's a big player for us... and we're going to need him."

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