By Gareth James
Cardiff City manager Steve Morison insists his new goal hero Jordan Hugill is not a replacement for Kieffer Moore and he would like to pair the strikers together.
Hugill scored six minutes into his Bluebirds debut as Cardiff won for the first time in seven games to ease their relegation fears with a 2-1 win at home to Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
The Norwich City striker – who joined Cardiff on loan on Saturday after a barren spell at West Brom in the first half of the season – is viewed by many of the club’s fans as a likely replacement for Moore, who they fear will be sold on deadline day.
But Morison was adamant that Moore – who the club say has an ankle injury – is not being lined up for a departure, with Bournemouth believed to be the keenest of his admirers.
“Until someone tells me otherwise, he’s staying,” said Morison.
“It’s the same as when I was sitting here on Friday saying I had no one incoming, it could literally be that I walk out here now and someone tells me he is gone or he is staying.
What a start! Absolutely delighted to get off to that start!! What a result and performance from everyone!! @CardiffCityFC Not bad for someone who can ‘only play in the cold weather and on rubbish pitches’😶 pic.twitter.com/dLDCMKZWcO
— Jordan Hugill (@JordanHugill) January 30, 2022
“As of right now, I expect to see Kieffer Moore tomorrow at training.”
When it was suggested that Hugill was an insurance policy should Moore be sold on Monday, Morison added: “I look at it and go, ‘Imagine having Kieffer Moore and Jordan Hugill up top’. That wouldn’t be bad, would it?!
“It’s all speculation at the minute with Kieffer.
“I haven’t been told otherwise. I’ve spoken to Kieffer, he is where he is and he is coming back on his rehab.
“He is due to come back into training tomorrow, so we will just wait and see.”
Morison paid tribute to Hugill after the 29-year-old gave an assured display and scored a well-taken goal before Isaak Davies added a second.
It was arguably Cardiff’s best performance of the season and with both Peterborough and Reading losing on the same weekend it had opened up a six-point gap between Cardiff and the relegation zone.
Hugill scored just one goal in 20 appearances for West Brom, although 12 of those were from off the bench.
“Thankfully, the manager at West Brom didn’t fancy him,” added Morison.
The dream debut!
— Three Little Birds (@ThreeBluebirds_) January 30, 2022
“I knew what I wanted to do. We were waiting and that was who we were waiting on.Jordan Hugill iis an excellent Championship player.
“People get caught up in the stats when it comes to goals. But he’s always performed well in a two (up front) and scored a lot of goals.
“He does all the horrible stuff goalscorers don’t like doing. You don’t play at the clubs he’s been at if you are not a very good footballer. He just needed a little bit of love.
“That was a complete team performance and the boys are buzzing because we haven’t been far away.
“We have four new loan signings and two back from loans.
“That has helped because we’ve been reliant on the academy players and they’ve never been in this position before. They needed help. And this allows them the chance to grow at the right pace and right speed.
“We know we need to win games of football, especially with the teams around us losing over the weekend, and what an excellent job they did. We set them up in a game plan and we brought new players in because the players we already have need help. I thought, to a man, they were outstanding.”
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper, who felt Forest were to blame for their downfall due to poor defending and not being clinical in the final third, insists Wales winger Brennan Johnson will not move on deadline day amid strong interest from Premier League side Brentford.
He said: “I think if something was going to happen, with any of the boys leaving that we don’t want to, it would be further down the line than anything is at the moment.
“So I think he (Johnson) will stay.”
The Bluebirds stormed ahead after just six minutes when Hugill – whose arrival on loan from Norwich was confirmed just hours earlier – fired in the opener.
Substitute Isaak Davies netted the important second goal with more than an hour gone to settle nerves and hopes of an unlikely comeback from the visitors, and though Keinan Davis did head in deep into stoppage time to extinguish hopes of a first clean sheet in 25 games for Morison’s men, it was not enough to spark a dramatic comeback.