By David Roberts
Cardiff City expect to launch both Lee Tomlin and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing at Championship leaders Leeds United on Sunday.
Bluebirds boss Neil Harris has confirmed that long-term injury victims Tomlin and Mendez-Laing both came through the friendly with Swansea City at the weekend and will be fit for selection on Sunday.
Defender Jazz Richards, however, is set to miss out when the season resumed for the first time since March, due to a calf injury picked up in training.
Tomlin, who missed the last four games before lockdown, is the leading goalscorer with seven and has helped to keep Cardiff in the hunt for a play-off place.
Mendez-Laing’s pace out wide has been missing since he suffered a bad hamstring injury on 29 December.
“Lee and Nathaniel both played in our games against Cheltenham and Swansea. They had slightly varied minutes, but they both feel lucky to be back because they didn’t think they were going to be involved in the majority of them,” said Harris.
“I know our fans will be really pleased to see our most creative players available. They will both be available for Leeds.
“But Jazz Richards won’t be available. Jazz was not 100 per cent fit when he came back into training. He will be struggling to be ready for Leeds, I cannot say he is definitely going to be ruled out completely but he is unlikely to feature.”
Loan players Brad Smith, Dion Sanderson and Albert Adomah are also set to stay until the end of the season, and complete the nine-match push for promotion, while Welsh international Richards and striker Danny Ward are expected to stay despite being out of contract on 30 June.
“All three loan players are contracted to us to 30 June and all want to stay. We have to seek permission from the loan club, but they cannot deny it so it does become a decision between the player and the club,” said Harris.
“They are all really happy, want to stay and I want them to stay. It is just going to be a question of getting the paperwork done in the weeks to come.
“Jazz and Danny are both coming out of contract at the end of the month, but I’ve spoken to them regularly about what their future is and the uncertainty as to where we are at the moment.
“Jazz has been injured for a period of time and will need to get back into the group. Danny has been training and played some minutes today. Both know my thoughts, I know their thoughts and that will stay between us for the time being – between me and the players.
“I’ve asked both to be available for the rest of the season and I want both to be part of the squad. Both have said they are happy to do that unless anything changes before Sunday’s game.”