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Byline: Terry Phillips

STEWART Baxter, the Englishman in charge of Finland, has given Cardiff City a helping hand.

The former Preston and Stockport player has given goalkeeper Peter Enckelman the night off from international football tomorrow - and he is available for Cardiff's Carling Cup clash with Dagenham and Redbridge.

That is a massive boost for the Bluebirds, who would have been left without a senior keeper if Enckelman had been needed for Finland's friendly with Sweden.

There had even been talk of calling goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson out of retirement, but boss Dave Jones has selected Canadian youth player Jordan Santiago on the bench.

It was Enckelman who took the initiative in a bid to help the Bluebirds - and ensure he played 90 minutes of first-team football.

"I rang Finnish officials after our pre-season match at Swindon," said Enckelman.

"I had a chat and asked them to bear in mind Cardiff would be left without a senior goalkeeper if they needed me.

"I love playing for my country, of course, but Cardiff's need was greater at a time when Finland are playing a friendly.

"The manager understood and gave his blessing for me to play for Cardiff. I thank him for that.

"David Marshall is in Scotland's squad for their World Cup qualifier and hopefully he will start and play really well.

"With Cardiff, David has the No 1 shirt and kept a clean sheet in our win against Scunthorpe.

"Now my job is to play well when I get the chance, starting against Dagenham, and let the manager know I am ready when needed.

"I was delighted for David that he played well against Scunthorpe. Goalkeepers stick together - and we'll support each other no matter who is playing.

"The whole stadium was buzzing after we beat Scunthorpe 4-0. That helps confidence, but we also know we must do better still.

"We could have been a goal down within a couple of minutes, so there is still plenty to work on."

Enckelman will feature in a strong Cardiff starting line-up tonight, even though Jones has only 11 senior professionals available.

Jones is still angry that Carling Cup ties must be played during an international week, describing the decision as "crazy".

Cardiff were one of only three clubs to vote against the Football League decision and Jones said: "It's a decision that devalues the Carling Cup competition again.

"It's crazy that (players) are taken away from us and we still have to play a cup match which is important to this football club.

"Now, though, we simply have to get on with it.

"We will put out the strongest team we have available. It's a chance for players on the fringe to make their mark.

"Some of the kids think they should be with the first team all the time. Now we will find out.

"If they are in this football club they have to be good enough to play first team football."

Midfielder Aaron Wildig, a first-year senior professional still only 17, was the closest to a call into the starting line-up.

Jones, though, will surely start with Stephen McPhail alongside Gavin Rae in the centre of midfield, while Peter Whittingham and Miguel Comminges are available on the flanks.

Jay Bothroyd and Michael Chopra will play in attack - and trainee Nathaniel Jarvis is the only natural striker available among Academy players.

Jay Bothroyd took a bang to his toe during the win against Scunthorpe and, ideally, Jones would love to rest the striker, but he is likely to start against Dagenham.

"They are a good, strong team," said Jones.

"They will come to our new stadium and will be lifted by the playing surface the whole feel of the place.

"That's something we will have to contend with now."

Meanwhile Kevin McNaughton is still "five or six weeks away" from a return to training.

"Kevin still has a plaster pot on his leg," said Jones.

"He is making progress, but there is some way to go."

Riccy Scimeca is working with fitness coach Alex Armstrong having recovered from his groin problem.

"Alex is putting Riccy through his paces and getting him back to where he was before he hit a problem during pre-season," said Jones.

THE KIDS ARE UNITED THE Bluebirds' kids - all teenagers - likely to be on the Carling Cup bench tonight.

JORDAN SANTIAGO: Goalkeeper, aged 18. Canadian teenager who has made good progress within the Cardiff City Youth Academy. Polish keeper Erwin Sak was City's third choice, but he has been overtaken by Santiago and manager Dave Jones said: "Jordan will be on the bench. If Peter Enckelman had not been available, Jordan would have started." KYE EDWARDS Aged 17. Rhondda-born centre-half from Pentre. Full-time Bluebirds trainee who is a Wales under-17 international.

Former Treorchy BGC player who has played first-team football against Chasetown and Swindon Town during pre-season.

AARON WILDIG Aged 17. Composed, balanced and highly skilful central midfield player. From Hereford and spotted by Cardiff's scouting system. Another player from the Aaron Ramsey mould and tipped for a big future.

IBRAHIM FARAH Aged 17. Grangetown lad 'Ibby' has made a big impact within Cardiff's academy. A midfielder discovered when manager Neal Ardley set his backroom team a challenge, saying: "Find a Cardiff Parks team to play our Under-18s." Spent a season on schoolboy forms in 2008-09 and has now started a two-year trainee contract. Quick, strong in the tackle and mobile. NATHANIEL JARVIS Aged 17. Cardiff-born. The only forward option outside Chopra and Bothroyd tonight - even Josh Magennis is away with Northern Ireland Under-21s. Spent a season on schoolboy forms in 2008-09 and has started a two-year trainee contract.

JON MEADES Aged 17. Cardiff-born, Wales under-17 international. Can play in midfield or defence, having operated at left-back.


Peter Enckelman will stay with Cardiff City during the international friendlies rather than join up with Finland
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 11, 2009
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