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Erol Bulut Needs Late Fitness Test To Make Cardiff City FA Cup Debut


By Gareth James

CARDIFF City will run a pre-match fitness test ahead of their FA Cup third round – on manager Erol Bulut.

The Bluebirds boss has an unspecified virus and may be absent when his team start their Cup campaign away at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Bulut was absent from the club’s press conference on Thursday, where Nicolaos Karydas – Bulut’s long-time assistant – gave an update on his boss’s condition.

“Erol is quite ill. I don’t know how bad, as I am not a doctor,” said Karydas.

“I am forwarding his greetings and we hope that he will be soon with us again. That’s the only information I can give you.

“But Erol is a giant and he has surprised me many times. Maybe this time he will be well enough to come with us.”

Cardiff will certainly hope they have the presence of their Turkish manager to guide them as they have won their last two away matches under his watch – away at QPR on New Year’s Day and before that at Hillsborough, where they completed the Championship double this season over struggling Wednesday.

But in the FA Cup, Cardiff were unable to get beyond the third round last season and it is 10 years since they reached the fifth round.

They have been boosted by the news that striker Karlan Grant may soon be available after his hamstring injury was considered not as serious as first feared.

But they are without long term injured pair Aaron Ramsey and Callum O’Dowda.

For both Bulut – if he makes it- and Karydas, this will be their first experience of the FA Cup, having both arrived for their first spell in British football last summer.

“It is the first time, but I am a fan of British competitions,” added Karydas.

“I don’t just speak for myself when I say that it is an important competition for us. Of course, each game is important. The players have come from a long period with a lot of games, so we try and manage their tiredness.

“I remember watching the FA Cup, but in my mind, I have a lot of games. But I can say that all the FA Cup games that I have watched, I have liked, especially the Final.”

SWANSEA City have the benefit of a home tie, but that’s about the only thing firmly known in the build-up to their FA Cup clash against Morecambe.

The club had hoped to tie up a deal with Notts County by Thursday evening and announce Luke Williams as their new head coach, with the third round tie as his first match in charge.

But talks with League Two club County over compensation have yet to be completed, meaning there is a possibility that current caretaker Alan Sheehan could still be in charge.

The Irishman has done an impressive job of steadying the ship since Michael Duff was sacked at the start of December.

If Sheehan does remain at the helm, then a victory over Morecambe – who are currently 17th in League Two – would give the stand-in a record of four wins, two draws, and just two defeats in eight matches in charge.

That could well be enough to ensure that the Swans insist on Sheehan remaining part of their coaching staff, even if the deal to bring in Williams goes through.

Like Cardiff, the Swans have struggled in the FA Cup in recent seasons and have exited at the third round stage for the past two years.

But their Wales centre-back Ben Cabango says the team have been lifted by their hard-earned 1-0 victory over promotion-chasing West Brom.

“We were also buzzing to get the clean sheet because it had been a while, there were guys throwing their bodies on the line at the end to make sure we got it.

“We needed that, if you don’t concede goals in games then you give yourself the best possible chance of getting wins.”

As with the Swans and Cardiff, Newport County are in FA Cup third round action on Saturday – at home to non-League Eastleigh – while Wrexham must wait until Sunday to travel to Shrewsbury Town.

Newport are unbeaten in their last three games and are firm favourites to make it through to the fourth round for the first time since 2019 when they lost to Manchester City.

Wrexham reached the fourth round last season, before taking Sheffield United to a replay, and will also be favourites to win, despite facing opposition one tier higher in League One Shrewsbury.


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