Jones hails the mental toughness of Bluebirds

Cardiff manager happy that players have not let club's tax issues derail them
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The Independent Football

Dave Jones, the Cardiff City manager is hoping the club can resolve their unpaid tax bill this week.

The Bluebirds are due in the High Court today to face a winding-up order over money owed to HM Revenue and Customs, but Jones has paid tribute to the way his players have coped in such a difficult time. "It will be a big boost if the tax bill can be sorted out on Wednesday and then everybody can relax and concentrate on the football," Jones said.

"I know the chairman and the board are working really hard on it. We can't really influence it apart from winning matches and influencing people who might want to buy the club."

Jones added: "There's a good camaraderie about the place and they knew they had to pull something out of the bag on Saturday. This month will be very challenging for the players here. We may get one or two back from injury, but that still won't be enough.

"It's going to be a tall order for everybody. But we're up for the fight and the players are giving everything they've got. If they continue to do that, there'll be no complaints from me."

Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has returned to action in a behind-closed-doors friendly after almost six months on the sidelines.

The 27-year-old played in the first half of a 4-1 victory over Hibernian at the Magpies' Darsley Park training headquarters on Monday as he attempts to regain full fitness for what remains of his side's Championship promotion push. The former Manchester City midfielder has been out of action since breaking a bone in his foot during the 3-1 league victory over Plymouth on 19 September last year. Plymouth are to apply for a work permit for 23-year-old Zimbabwe defender Onismor Bhasera.

An independent tribunal will hear the club's application on behalf of Bhasera, who has been training with the club. The left-back played 51 league games for South African club Kaizer Chiefs between 2007 and 2009.

Bristol Rovers have completed a deal to keep on-loan Doncaster striker Paul Heffernan at the Memorial Stadium until the end of the season.

The 28-year-old Irishman's initial one-month stay with the Pirates was due to end today.

Rovers manager Paul Trollope said: "We're pleased to have agreed that, we were pleased with his performance again on Saturday, pleased that he scored another goal and he's forming a good partnership with Jo [Kuffour].

Southend have appointed former Chelsea boss David Webb as Steve Tilson's assistant following the sacking of Paul Brush. Brush had worked alongside Tilson since November 2003 and helped the club to two successive promotions. But the club have struggled this season and, after losing 3-0 at Hartlepool on Saturday, they fell into the League One drop zone, prompting chairman Ron Martin to sack Brush and appoint Webb as his replacement.

Martin said: "Releasing Paul of his coaching responsibilities gave me no pleasure whatsoever. However, the decision had to be made and was carried out in the most compassionate way. The club is not contractually obliged to maintain Paul's salary for the entire period of his unexpired contract and I doubt there are many employers that would take this view. We treat people fairly at Southend United Football Club.

"For a long period we have had continuity of management, but change was essential to help us stay in League One. For the rest of the season Steve Tilson will be assisted by David Webb."