Neil Etheridge: Neil Warnock ponders recalling Philippines international

Neil Etheridge
Neil Etheridge has won 62 caps for the Philippines

Philippines international goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is vying for a first-team return for Cardiff City.

The 29-year-old has been sidelined since damaging a hamstring in the Bluebirds' opening day defeat to Wigan.

Etheridge played for the under-23s this week and manager Neil Warnock is considering a first team return on Saturday against Middlesbrough.

Warnock also said it was a "good job" midfielder Lee Tomlin had a "strong, big car" in a recent accident.

"I will be speaking to Neil, I have watched him as well," said Warnock.

"You've just got to be so careful with those things so I will have to make a decision on that.

"All the players do (say they are ready to play) when they are training.

"Sol Bamba told me he was fit three weeks ago and I almost agreed with him. You have to speak to the medical people as well."

Alex Smithies has been first choice since the Etheridge injury while summer signing Joe Day has played just 44 minutes for the first-team.

"I feel a bit sorry for Joe because I thought one of the keepers would leave in the summer, he has done nothing wrong, either.

"You see the season Etheridge had last season, it was a tremendous season. I brought Alex to give him competition and that is exactly what he has done.

"I would think we have two of the best keepers in the division."

Marlon Pack and Bamba are close to returning from injury, while Tomlin has trained this week after suffering whiplash in a car accident last week.

"It was a bad accident. I obviously don't know all the ins and outs, only what I have been told. But the other car was badly damaged as well," said Warnock.

"It was a good job Lee had the car he has, a strong, big car, so the police said."

'No good bleating'

Cardiff have put together a four-game unbeaten run in the league and Warnock believes they are starting to hit their stride despite injuries to key players.

"Everyone is going to get them. It is no good bleating and it does give good opportunities to other people," Warnock said.

"When you lose your better players it's a disappointment for you because you're trying to plan something with a new squad, really.

"You want your main players involved and I think Bamba, Pack and Etheridge are all major players down that spine."

Warnock added: "I think you can see three or four teams who are going to do well throughout the season. I think we just have to hang on their coat-tails and get to Christmas.

"I think we will improve after that, I think this season we will improve as we go along once everybody beds in and we get the injured lads back."

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