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BLUEBIRDS ON THE WAY UP.

Byline: By TERRY PHILLIPS South Wales Echo

Dave Jones insists his players are fighting back against the 'right old battering' Cardiff City have taken during the close season. Manager Jones has been delighted at the way his Bluebirds have opened the campaign, earning pre-season wins against Accrington Stanley, Hamilton Academicals and, on Wednesday night, Scottish Premier League outfit Kilmarnock 2-1.

And the new boss believes that the wins City are earning up north are going a fair way to healing the wounds - even if they are in mere friendlies.

'Cardiff City have taken a right old battering over the last few months,' said Jones.

'We have lost players and so much has happened in such a short space of time.

'But winning games, even during pre-season, doesn't half help your cause.'

Yet it's not just the results that have pleased Jones, it has been the manner in which they have been achieved.

Sterner tests lie ahead without doubt, but the former Wolves boss says he is pleased with the mix of quality and hard graft he is seeing from his men.

'We are knocking the ball about beautifully,' he added.

'There is still a long way to go and our pre-season games are mainly about fitness and getting into the right habits.

'But not just that, it's been good to see the players settling in as they have.

'At the end of the day winning is a great habit to get into. The players have bought into what we are trying to do and to be fair they have had to.

'If we are to succeed as a club, everybody must pull together and that's what is happening.'

The victory against Kilmarnock on Wednesday evening was arguably the most pleasing of the lot so far for Jones and his players.

While hardly giants, the Rugby Park club are a solid, well established Scottish Premier League outfit and certainly no mugs.

Jones didn't arrange the Scottish tour - it was put together under the old regime - and you sense he had his reservations about taking his charges north of the border.

But he was in no doubt about the value of the clash against Killie.

'We tried two different formations on the night, starting with 4-4-2 and then switching to 4-3-3 with Toni Koskela screening the back four,' he said.

'Then Phil Mulryne went on in the second half and he gives us a different option as well.

'But in general terms this was the hardest match of our pre-season fixtures so far, played on a good surface. And it was an outstanding test for us at this stage of our preparation.

'The goals were down to teamwork and Cameron Jerome finished well, which will do his confidence the world of good.

'For the first Jeff Whitley came out of the pack to shut the centre-half down and forced a mistake which gave Cameron the chance to dink the ball over the goalkeeper. The second came from a long ball forward, flicked on and stuck away well.'

BRYN Allen, the former Cardiff City and Wales inside-forward, has died, aged 84.

Gilfach Goch born Allen was a key figure in the promotion winning side of 1946-47.

Capped twice by Wales, Allen also appeared for Coventry and Reading, before ending his playing years at Barry.

His funeral takes place at Tonyrefail Cemetery next Monday, starting at 1pm.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 22, 2005
Words:563
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