Russell Slade has hit back at critics who say he must show Cardiff City striker Kenwyne Jones more respect.
Slade has been accused of showing a ‘complete lack of respect’ to Jones by failing to play him enough and sending him out on loan last season, with WalesOnline columnist and former Bluebirds player Nathan Blake saying: “You should not treat your number one player like that.”
But a furious Slade says he has treated Jones with great respect – and revealed he has a ‘fighting man’s chance’ of starting at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
“Kenwyne and I sat down and set out what was best for him,” said Slade.
“He suggested it would be best to be among the substitutes and maybe play 30 minutes at Queens Park Rangers."
Slade continued: “The plan we agreed was half an hour, then 60 or 70 minutes.
“People have got it wrong. Kenwyne wasn’t fit enough to start and it was important we agreed, together, the best way to ensure he regained 100 per cent fitness as quickly as possible.
“Kenwyne was involved in every decision.”
Blake had said in his column this week: “The guy is head and shoulders above any other frontman currently at the club and, as a former striker myself, I know you should treat your No.1 just like that, as your No.1 player.
“The way Jones has been treated by the Bluebirds, I believe, has been in danger of affecting him psychologically.”
The 6ft 4in Jones, who spent the end of last season on loan at Bournemouth, returned from summer international duty with Trinidad and Tobago carrying a calf strain and he has now made three Championship appearances in the 2015/16 campaign.
The big centre-forward scored and then went off with an ankle injury during City’s 2-0 win against Wolves.
He was not involved in the 2-1 defeat at MK Dons, and Slade says: “He has a fighting man’s chance of playing at Forest. He is having treatment and we are hopeful.”
Jones has been linked with a move to Sheffield Wednesday, but sources at Cardiff City have said there has not been any official contact or any offer from the Yorkshire club.