Cardiff no one-man team says Jones
Cardiff boss Dave Jones has insisted his Championship title contenders are not a ‘one man team’ ahead of Craig Bellamy’s pending reunion with first club Norwich this weekend.
Jones pulled off the transfer coup of the summer to secure Bellamy’s services on a season long loan from Man City and the Welshman has yet to be on the losing side for the Bluebirds. Bellamy helped inspire Cardiff to a 4-0 win at Leeds last time out which moved his hometown club joint top – but Jones insists the 31-year-old’s high profile return has proved mutually beneficial.
“We’re certainly not a one man team,” he said. “He has brought a quality that teams in the Championship don’t normally get. You might get players coming to the end of their careers drop down, but someone with his stature and quality you very rarely get in our division. He just gets us up the pitch quicker because you don’t find many players of his sheer pace.
“If people want to say that, then fine, but we have also won games when he is not in the side. The period when he arrived he was carrying the football club a little, but that isn’t the case now and the players here are helping him just as much. Certainly when he was injured they helped him a lot because he was so determined to help us and he maybe lost a bit of focus. We have got some good players here besides Craig.”
Jones revealed Bellamy was the main instigator in the audacious loan switch after contacting the Bluebirds’ boss following Cardiff’s Wembley play-off final heartache in the summer.
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“I got a phone call off Craig asking me if I wanted to go around to his house as we live in the same village and I thought he was just going to console me for missing out on the play-offs,” said Jones, speaking on a Cardiff local radio phone in. “He just said he would like to play for us and we got talking. We knew there would be some problems trying to make it happen so everything that needed to be covered we tried to pre-empt before everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
“What people forget is we hadn’t brought a player in for 18 months before that. It didn’t come out of my budget and it could only happen with the help of Man City. Craig was adamant he would only come to us, so I was pretty confident but less so about Man City saying yes. It was on going for a couple of months. I went to a board meeting and laid out a plan A and a plan B – and plan A was Craig Bellamy and thankfully the board backed me on it.”
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Bellamy will again be expected to provide the ammunition for Championship top scorer Jay Bothroyd and Michael Chopra against the Canaries. Bothroyd is free to line up against Paul Lambert’s men after escaping a potential ban for an ugly challenge on Leeds frontman Luciano Becchio at Elland Road on Monday.
“If he had gone into that challenge with the intention to do some harm then I would be the first person to pull him to one side, but that is not what the player is about,” said Jones.
“To be honest, I wasn’t sure what incident they were referring to it because the referee didn’t see it, his assistant didn’t see it and however many thousands in the crowd didn’t see it. There has been a lot made about challenges in the game at the moment which is why perhaps it has been highlighted. Yes, it was a bad challenge and we have to make sure he doesn’t do it again.”