MALKY MACKAY says the club versus country player crisis threatening to disrupt Town and Cardiff as they prepare for the big Championship opener next month is “ludicrous”.
Simon Grayson’s side, back in the second tier after an 11-year absence, have a Friday, August 17 date against the Welsh team.
While Town could potentially have four players – Jordan Rhodes and Paul Dixon (Scotland), Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) and Sean Scannell (Republic of Ireland) on international duty that week, ruling them out of Capital One Cup first-round involvement at Preston on Monday, August 13, Cardiff might have as many as 10 involved.
The switch from Saturday afternoon to Friday evening is because of live Sky television coverage.
“It’s unbelievable, it was bad enough last season,” said Mackay, who had to include three trainees for the League Cup first-round clash at Oxford (Cardiff went on to beat Town in the second round and reach the final, where they lost on penalties to Liverpool).
“Some players will be asked to play for their country on the Wednesday and for their club two days later, which is ludicrous. We have been left in an unbelievable situation.
“Some may have to fly back from abroad on Thursday morning. Common sense has certainly not prevailed when it comes to these early-season fixtures.
“There is little we can do as a club, but I will be talking to all the international managers involved. They, too, are in a difficult position and I understand that, but I will ask them to be as understanding as they can be.
“The home match against Huddersfield is our first Championship game of the season and it’s a big ask for anybody to return from international duty and go straight into that. I always try to co-operate with international calls and hopefully the international managers I call will take that into consideration.”
Cardiff’s Aron Gunnarsson was Iceland’s captain in their last international, a friendly against France before Euro 2012, and he could face flying back from Reykjavic after a friendly against the Faroe Isles.
Wales manager Chris Coleman could include Darcy Blake, Robert Earnshaw and potentially Ben Turner for their home match against Bosnia, while Scotland may call up Kenny Miller, Don Cowie, goalkeeper David Marshall and Kevin McNaughton for their clash with Australia, in which Town’s Rhodes and Dixon might also feature.
Filip Kiss could be considered by Slovakia, who play in Denmark, and manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who has shown interest in Under 21 striker Scannell, could name look to the future and call up Cardiff frontman Joe Mason in his Republic of Ireland squad for the trip to Serbia.
Northern Ireland, who included new Town midfielder Norwood in their last game against Holland, have a home game against Finland.