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Jones backs Bluebirds for promotion

17 March 2013

Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones experienced the bitter taste of defeat against his former club Cardiff for the second time this season - and then insisted they are favourites for promotion.

The Bluebirds ended a three-match winless run to get their title tilt back up to full speed, moving seven points clear at the top of the npower Championship with goals from Don Cowie and Matthew Connolly giving them a 2-0 win at Wednesday.

But Owls boss Jones, who neglected to make any mention of his six-year spell with the Welsh club in his programme notes, was not overly impressed with them.

"It possibly looks like they're going to limp over the line," he said. "They're the ones in pole position, they've spent an awful lot of money so I'm sure they have to go up.

"At any club where you spend that much money, the owners will be looking to get a return."

Jones, who had two failed play-off campaigns at Cardiff and led them to an FA Cup final, did not see any great disparity between the two sides, but admitted naivety had cost the hosts.

The opening goal, which on the cusp of half-time and following a credible first-half showing from Wednesday, was the result of a half-cleared corner. Cowie picked up the loose ball and found the bottom corner via a deflection off Anthony Gardner. And after the interval, a long, flighted free-kick delivery from Peter Whittingham was nodded in by Connolly from close range for his fifth of the season.

"There was nothing in it at all," Jones added. "We spoke about how they like to build pressure by winning set-pieces and putting the ball in the box and we spoke about how to stop it. But we've switched off at key times and that's disappointing. We've shown a little bit of naivety where maybe they've got that edge of experience over us."

With results elsewhere going against Wednesday, they are entrenched in a battle against the drop and Jones admitted the international break could work in their favour. "I've heard people say it's a good time, but would it have been a good time had we won?" he asked.

Cardiff, who won the home fixture 1-0 in December, are now nine points clear of third-placed Watford and boss Malky Mackay was delighted with what he saw. "It's another three points towards where we want to go," the Scot said. "We've been top since November 24 and it's a long time to be there and be shot at, discussed, debated - I'm very pleased with the mental strength of our players to deal with that."

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