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Ambitious Jones is aiming to hold on to Ledley.

Byline: terry phillips

DAVE JONES has made his position on Joe Ledley's situation clear, saying: "I want Joe to stay - I want all my players to stay."

The Bluebirds manager is keen for Ledley, who is being tracked by Everton, Stoke City and other Premier League clubs, to sign a new long-term contract, while he would love to see Wayne Routledge and Michael Chopra stay well beyond the end of their current loan agreements.

Welsh international Ledley, 21, has made almost 200 appearances for the Bluebirds and has said he is not thinking about moving on.

Ledley is under contract until the end of next season and said: "I am a Cardiff City player and anything else is nothing more than rumours."

Chairman Peter Ridsdale is set to offer Ledley a new deal, while Jones said: "We have a good squad and I want to keep every player. We want to keep this group together and see what can be achieved.

"It has taken a long time to build what we have here at Cardiff City and now we must make the most of it. Everything is going as we would have hoped, except we were hoping for a few more points at this stage.

"If everybody maintains their standards and keeps doing what they have been doing so far, we will be okay.

"I told the players yesterday we are not yet at our best. There is more to come from us.

"If the players believe that as much as I do, we will see where that takes us.

"This club is at its most professional right now than it has ever been. That's the progress which has been made.

"We are just about there with the squad we have. We have strength in depth and options. When Peter Whittingham and Ross McCormack are fully fit - and they will join in with the first team from next week - then we really will have a squad for Cardiff fans to be proud of."

Jones himself was linked with a move to the Premier League this week with the Blackburn Rovers job.

Rovers went for Sam Allardyce, while Jones stayed focused on Cardiff City.

"We have come a long way and there is a lot more to be done," said Jones.

Cardiff City directors meet today to talk about the January transfer window and Ledley, Routledge and Chopra are high on the agenda.

Chairman Peter Ridsdale and director Keith Harris will then, probably this evening, sit down with Jones to lay out their plans for the rest of this season and beyond.

City are at home to Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow before completing their fixtures in 2008 by playing Reading away on Boxing Day and Plymouth Argyle at home two days later.

Jones will be sorely tempted to name an unchanged starting line-up against Wednesday, even though that will mean Stephen McPhail staying among the substitutes.

City are unbeaten in their last five games, having won two and drawn three. The factor which might concern Jones is that City conceded seven goals in that run - and have yet to score more than two goals in a game this season.

If, as expected, Jones does go for an unchanged line-up, then Ledley will retain the captain's armband in central midfield.

His partnership with Gavin Rae through the middle has proved a success. Their drive and power in that area, plus the balance of two wingers in Routledge and Paul Parry has made the Bluebirds look a potent force going forward.

TONY CAPALDI came through a private reserve team match against Hereford United in midweek with no problems.

Club captain Darren Purse, Stephen McPhail, Darcy Blake and goalkeeper Tom Heaton also played in the match, along with younger players.

"It was a highly useful exercise," said Jones. "Tony came through 60 minutes or so with no problems."

Both Peter Whittingham and Ross McCormack are moving closer to full fitness.

Neither were ready to take part in the reserves match this week, which Hereford won 2-0, but Jones said: "They will be joining in the with the first team for the full sessions again from next week."

ROGER JOHNSON is the guest on Cardiff City's radio phone-in this evening.

The Bluebirds' centre-half will be chatting to show host Keith Cooper and supporters between 7pm and 8pm on GTFM.


PART OF THE PLANS: Cardiff boss Dave Jones is determined to hold on to Joe Ledley
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 19, 2008
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