Having signed for the Bluebirds just before the transfer window closed, debut goal scorer Kenwyne Jones says his teammates need more self belief.
Kenwyne Jones is determined to add far more than physical presence and goals for Cardiff City in their remaining 14 Premier League matches this season.
The experienced Trinidad and Tobago international believes he has spotted a Bluebirds weakness he can help put right.
“An early observation for me is that the players in our dressing room don’t give themselves enough credit,” says Jones. “There isn’t enough belief in themselves and each other.
“But with new faces in and a win against Norwich City that side of things will improve.
“There are young, quality players in our dressing room and those with more experience, including myself, must do their bit to lift those around us.
“There is character in this team and that was clear against Norwich when we pulled together and earned our win. With a little more belief we can make solid progress.
“This is not every man for himself. We all need each other in our aim to climb the table.”
Jones includes supporters in that, having felt the tension around the stadium after Norwich went ahead.
“The players were nervous, the fans were nervous and that can spread,” he said.
“After Norwich scored it was always going to be tense. But when we scored our goals the atmosphere lifted and helped all of the home players.
“That’s what happens - and the whole stadium was behind us during the second half.”
Cardiff added seven new signings during January including Jones, Wilfried Zaha and Fabio, while Spanish defender Juan Cala is completing his switch from Sevilla to South Wales.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also added three attacking players from Norway in Magnus Eikrem, Mats Daehli and Jo Inge Berget.
Former Sunderland and Stoke forward Jones, 29, marked his City debut by scoring the winner against Norwich, while substitute Wilfried Zaha’s first half intervention turned the match.
“I’ve played against Wilf and know what he can do,” says Jones.
“He has been given the chance to showcase his talent and will enjoy that.
“He can be a lynchpin for the team as we work to climb. I’m happy for him.
“Our role is to feed him the ball and give him the chance to show what he can do. Wilf is an amazing player.”
Jones led the Bluebirds’ attack with power and tenacity against Norwich, while he also dropped back to help out in defence at set pieces and won a series of crucial headers.
“That’s what I need to do for the team,” he says. “Every player has to help the team in whatever way they can. We are fighting for our lives and every moment counts. We all have to do what we can for the team.”
Now Jones and his new Bluebirds team-mates are preparing for Saturday’s South Wales derby at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.
The 6ft 2ins centre-forward from Point Fortin in Trinidad knows all about derby matches, having played in Sunderland v Newcastle fixtures three times plus Sunderland v Middlesbrough and Southampton v Portsmouth.
And his advice for City players is to focus on the match and not the occasion.
“Of course it’s special because it’s a derby and we understand that,” says Jones. “It’s huge for the fans, but we have to approach it as a regular game, keep our heads and do all we can to win.
“The most important factor is to earn three points. We are working on a game plan and won’t be spending too much time looking at Swansea.
“We will analyse their team, see where we can penetrate and where we feel they have a weakness. But that’s what happens for every match.”
Cardiff are off the bottom thanks to that 2-1 win against Norwich, when Craig Bellamy and Jones were the scorers, and they now play two matches in four days. The trip to Swansea is followed by a home clash with Aston Villa next Tuesday.
And Jones makes it clear he is relishing the challenge ahead for the Bluebirds, saying: “I made the decision to sign for Cardiff because I want to play football. It was nothing to do with money or status. I wanted to play and wasn’t getting a chance (at Stoke).
“At my age I am supposed to be enjoying my football. When the chance came along to sign for Cardiff I made a decision to come down.
“Cardiff still have to play just about everybody in the bottom half of the table. It’s crucial to build confidence and that will help when we meet those teams around us.”
Jones arrived in South Wales after a straight swap deal with Peter Odemwingie was agreed with Stoke.
Stoke paid Southampton £8m for Jones in 2010, but manager Mark Hughes fell out with the striker when Jones said he was unavailable to play against Liverpool and was fined two weeks wages.
Jones didn’t play for Stoke, but says: “Nobody from the club (Stoke City) can say I was miscreant, disrespectful or even on strike as they would like to put it.
“The main reason (for my stand) was for my voice to be heard because they didn’t want to pay attention to me. That’s all I needed.
“I didn’t want to disrupt the squad disrespect the manager (Mark Hughes) or anything.
“Clubs have to come out, say what they have to and keep fans onside. I have no problem with that. My thing is I am happy. In the end I got heard and I am here in Cardiff now.”
Jones and Fraizer Campbell, who played together for Sunderland, are now Cardiff City’s main men in attack now and both are certain to be in the squad against Swansea City on Saturday.
The impact made by Jones against Norwich was just what the Bluebirds needed and now he has the Swans in his sights as Cardiff aim to earn successive Premier League wins for the first time this season.