Cardiff boss Dave Jones predicts tight Championship finish

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Cardiff boss Dave Jones is anticipating a tense climax to the npower Championship as the leading contenders all hit form at the right time.

The Bluebirds will cut QPR's lead at the top to three points if they beat play-off hopefuls Burnley in their game in hand at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight.

Yet with just two points separating Cardiff in second with sixth-placed Leeds, the competition is tough.

Burnley, sixth points further back in eighth, are also not giving up the chase having won impressively in their last two games and have been reinvigorated under new boss Eddie Howe.

Jones said: "We have a chance. At the moment QPR are holding the mantle and we have got to try and grasp that away.

"But Norwich and Leicester are on the run, Burnley are on the run. Everyone seems to be hitting winning streaks at the moment, everybody seems to be hitting form.

"It shows you how tight and tough this division is.

"They [Burnley] have got good players but it is up to us, because so have we.

"It will be another battle for us and we have got to keep going and striving for that goal we are all aiming for."

Cardiff edged a tight contest with Scunthorpe at the weekend to maintain their challenge while QPR were held by Nottingham Forest.

Jones has been pleased by the way his team have reacted to last year's disappointing play-off final loss to Blackpool to make another strong push for promotion.

He said: "We have had our kicks and our disappointments but we have always come back as a stronger group of people and that is shown by where we are season in, season out."

Jones is hoping Craig Bellamy will be fit to play, although there is doubt whether the Wales striker can regularly play weekends and midweek as he manages a long-term knee condition.

Elsewhere tonight bottom side Preston, still looking for their first win under Phil Brown, face another difficult evening as they travel to Watford.

The match will be the seventh since the former Hull boss took charge and time is running out for the Lilywhites to avoid relegation having fallen 10 points adrift of safety.

Another new manager still awaiting his first win with a troubled side, Sheffield United's Micky Adams, will prepare his team to face Reading.

Victory at Bramall Lane would lift the Blades out of the bottom three and Adams will take encouragement from the weekend draw with Millwall.

Doncaster and Ipswich face each other in the evening's other match.