Jones turns fire on Forest over 'tapping-up' row after being denied by 10-man United

Cardiff City 1 Sheffield United 1
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The Independent Online

Dave Jones chose to vent his fury at Nottingham Forest chief executive Mark Arthur rather than at his Cardiff players, who failed to claim three points against a Sheffield United side forced to play the last hour with 10 men.

Jones, who watched Jay Bothroyd salvage a point for the home side with his 62nd-minute equaliser, accused the Arthur of trying to unsettle midfielder Peter Whittingham. Forest have failed with two bids for the former Aston Villa player, hot property after scoring 25 goals last season. But the Midlands club has not given up landing one of Cardiff's key players, with Arthur claiming Whittingham "wants to come to us".

Jones said: "I've seen his comments and they were an absolute disgrace. If that's not blatant tapping up, I don't know what is. Whenever I've spoken to Whitts, he's said he doesn't want to leave. The chief executive at Forest has come out and says he's spoken to the agent and that the player wants to go there. If that's not trying to unsettle a player, I don't know what is. How would they feel if we did the same thing with one of their players?"

Jones, who spent most of the summer working under a transfer embargo, is looking to bounce back from last season's play-off final defeat and sees Whittingham as a key figure in his plans. He added: "We've kept our players. We've kept our big hitters. The embargo has now been lifted and now we can start to trade."

The United manager Kevin Blackwell admitted he was satisfied with a point but believed his side would have claimed all three had Matthew Lowton not been sent off in the 31st minute. The visitors were in front courtesy of Ched Evans's strike when the defender was shown a red card for a late tackle on Kevin McNaughton.

Cardiff piled on the pressure in the second half and Bothroyd denied United their first opening-day win since 2005 following a bad mistake by the otherwise impressive Steve Simonsen. The goalkeeper foolishly rushed out of his penalty area to try to stop Michael Chopra reaching Whittingham's pass. Chopra skipped past the stranded Simonsen and then picked out Bothroyd, who finished calmly. Blackwell said: "I've got no complaints with the red card but it wasn't a malicious challenge and Kevin knows that. I would like to have seen what would have happened if it was 11 against 11.

"I'm very happy to be getting on the bus with a point. Cardiff will be there or thereabouts this season and not many teams will leave here with a draw."

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Marshall; Blake, Hudson, Gyepes, McNaughton; Burke, Rae (McCormack, 54), Drinkwater, Whittingham; Bothroyd, Chopra. Substitutes not used Heaton (gk), Gerrard, Matthews.

Sheffield United (4-3-3): Simonsen; Lowton, Morgan, Ertl, Taylor; Montgomery, Britton (Kozluk, 68), Quinn, Ward (Yeates, 88); Evans (Bogdanovic, 68), Cresswell. Substitutes not used Aksalu (gk), James, Chapell.

Referee P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Man of the match Simonsen.

Attendance 20,573.

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