RICCY Scimeca has spoken of the terrifying Christmas that saw him spend 10 days in hospital with a mystery blood infection.
The trauma took so much out of the Cardiff City midfielder that the club gave him the go-ahead to take a short break in Dubai after it all, so he could recharge physically and mentally.
Now the ordeal, which saw a tennis ball-size lump appear next to his groin, is behind Scimeca and he is fighting battling to make a return to the City first time and boost the push for the play-offs.
But the former Premiership midfielder will certainly not forget the experience in a hurry.
Scimeca, 33, was just two weeks away from possible selection, with a view to making himself available for the home fixture with Sheffield United on December 22 when the horrifying development occurred.
"It came so quickly it was frightening," he said.
"It put me in hospital for 10 days and that's why I had to get away from it all recently.
A CONVICTED football thug has had a banning order extended to 2013 after he went to a Cardiff City home game.
Colin Cody, 40, of Ilminster Close, Barry, was originally banned from watching any matches for six years in 2002.
He was hit with the original order after getting caught up in violent scenes during the Bluebirds' famous FA Cup win against Leeds United, as well as being jailed for 75 days for his part in the trouble.
But after being released, he was again jailed for four years in April, 2004, after driving a van into the front of Fairwater Police Station, which demolished the entrance doors, brought down a ceiling and left the civilian clerk in shock.
The court was told he smashed into the building and shouted to chasing officers: "I did it for the Soul Crew."
FOUR Premiership clubs are tracking Cardiff City's Joe Ledley in the January transfer window.
The Echo understands that Ledley is on the wish-lists of Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Reading and Fulham.
The clubs will now work their way through their preferred options, but any transfer activity regarding Ledley is unlikely to occur until the final days of the the transfer window, which closes on January 31.
CARDIFF CITY chairman Peter Ridsdale last night poured cold water on the idea Robert Earnshaw could be set for a dramatic return to Ninian Park.
The Bluebirds supremo told the Western Mail reports linking the Welsh international striker with a return to his former club had been "blown out of all proportion".
Derby boss Paul Jewell yesterday also rendered such a deal more remote by insisting Earnshaw would not be sent out on loan.
And Earnshaw himself maintains he still wants to focus on breaking into the Rams side.
Ridsdale has confirmed he made tentative enquiries about bringing 26-year-old Earnshaw back to Cardiff.
COLIN Addison cheered Hereford United to FA Cup third round victory at Edgar Street last night and said: "It's going to be a cracker against Cardiff City."
Hereford are through to the fourth round for the first time since 1992 and play Cardiff on the weekend of January 26-27.
At the time Addison was manager of then non-league Hereford, having taken over at Edgar Street from the late John Charles, when they defeated Newcastle United in an FA Cup third round tie in 1972.
PETER Enckelman sat, relaxed and smiling, with Cardiff City manager Dave Jones and chairman Peter Ridsdale at the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel and Country Club.
The Finnish international is the latest goalkeeper brought in to try and fill the gap left by Neil Alexander's departure to Ipswich Town.
Jones has never managed to find a long-term replacement for Scottish international Alexander and even the Enckelman deal is only until the end of this season.
He has signed for Cardiff City on loan from Blackburn Rovers and sees this move as one of the most important in his career.