It has been Sir Alex Ferguson's long-held view that if his team were within striking distance of the top of the Premier League on New Year's Day, he would fancy them for the title.
And United are in the happy position of knowing even if they lose all three fixtures before their Hogmanay trip to Wigan, and Manchester City won all theirs, they would only be three points behind.
The chances are their status will be far more healthy given they head into the weekend six points in front of their nearest challengers, and perfectly placed to turn the screw during the festive period.
"The manager talks a lot about the Christmas period being one of the toughest spells of the Premier League season and that to be in a strong position at the turn of the year is vital," said Jones.
"We've put ourselves in a good position but we want to make the most of it so we need to keep it going."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sir Alex Ferguson