Dave Jones positive as City set for kick off

Last updated : 09 August 2008 By Michael Morris

Dave Jones is quietly confident that he has his best shot yet at promotion to the Premier League. City start the Championship season today against Jones' former club Southampton. Ninian Park is a sell out and anticipation is high.

"We're almost where we want to be and we've probably got the strongest squad since I've been here," Jones said after a summer where the first team squad, less Aaron Ramsey and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, has stayed together, and been added to with six new signinings and a permanent move for Peter Enckleman.

"We've had good starts before, but never had the depth to sustain it. In the past, we've always had to move a player out to cover the costs, but this year, we're a little bit more stable.

"Now we feel we can go and compete within the Championship and do what every other club wants to do - get out of this division.

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel now, but before, someone kept turning it off."

This is Jones' fourth season in charge at Ninian Park. Compared to most of the clubs in the Championship thats a long term job. Only Aidy Boothroyd at Watford and Steve Coppell at Reading have been in charge longer. So now Jones must break from the mid table that City keep finishing in and look to progress into a play off / promotion team. You can't stand still in this division without finding yourself going backwards.

He added: "Success for us is fulfilling our ambitions and what we feel the squad can do.

"Players are champing at the bit - everyone is determined, everybody wants it and virtually everything's in place.

"We've gone unbeaten through the summer and lost three of our last 16 competitive games last season, and one of those was an FA Cup final.

"The friendlies mean nothing points-wise, but it shows we're still competitive and have that belief. Now that has to kick into the league campaign."