Cardiff manager Neil Harris has admitted that goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was dropped from the starting line up for the South Wales derby against Swansea due to speculation about his future:
“With the goalkeeper, there has been a lot of speculation around Neil (Etheridge). There has been a lot of talk in the press about him moving on this week and it’s just a change to give Alex (Smithies) an opportunity, who has been very patient and good over a number of years in the Championship. Also, it’s just giving Neil an opportunity to come out of the firing line because of the speculation around him.”
The 29-year-old has been linked with West Ham over the past month, and it may be the case that the Hammers have stepped up their interest in the shot-stopper following issues in their move for Darren Randolph.
The Middlesbrough keeper is suffering from a thigh injury, which is similar to the one that Lukasz Fabianski has been suffering from, and there has been a delay in confirming the transfer due to the results of the medical.
A final decision by the Irons is expected this week, but if they do opt against signing Randolph, an approach for Etheridge would not be a surprise.
Manager David Moyes said that the recurrence of Fabianski’s injury against Sheffield United on Friday night will hasten the club’s efforts to sign another keeper before the end of the month.