Malky Mackay paid tribute to his matchwinner Craig Conway after the winger, making just his second start of the season, scored the only goal to clinch the Bluebirds' 10th successive home win - a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
The former Dundee United man had a transfer request turned down last month after finding his opportunities limited but after replacing the suspended Craig Noone he popped up with a late half-volley to send Cardiff back to the top of the npower Championship.
"Noone came out and Craig stepped in and looked like a top end Championship player," said Mackay. "I was delighted that his workrate gave him the chance of a goal that earned us the win.
"Craig has worked hard in training and he has had to be patient. There have been good players in there working hard and doing well.
"This season the quality is that much better that we can bring in players who can really make a difference."
Gary Madine almost fired Dave Jones' men into the lead against his manager's former employers after the break but he was denied by the reactions of David Marshall. And Wednesday looked on course for a hard-earned point until Conway was given time outside the box to fire home, a goal that frustrated Jones.
"We switched off at that vital moment," he said. "The only time we've switched off in the whole of the game was when he (Joe Mason) has laid it off and we didn't come out quick enough to block it.
"They worked so hard but that has happened to us too many times this season when they've worked hard and had that lapse of concentration at certain times in the game. That is four or five times that has happened to us and today was another one.
"We've frustrated them and probably had the best chance of the game to have gone 1-0 up and had a couple of half chances. We knew they were going to pummel our box and look for knock-downs.
"Unfortunately they took that chance when it came around and we didn't."