Fomer Cardiff City captain Jason Perry says the Bluebirds are exceeding expectations under new manager Malky Mackay.
Mackay has guided Cardiff to fourth in the Championship and a Carling Cup quarter-final tie against Blackburn awaits.
Perry says the fine start to the season is testament to Mackay's hard work since he succeeded Dave Jones in June.
"I think it's gone better than what he thought," Perry told BBC Sport Wales.
"He's ahead of the game, but he is that good a manager that in other ways you're not surprised.
"It's just rewards for Malky Mackay. He's done a great job and may it continue.
"He's come into Cardiff City [and there's] a new atmosphere in and around the place.
"There's a lot of people enjoying what they see because they are appreciating a group of players that work extremely hard when they pull on the Cardiff City jersey.
"Most importantly he has them organised. There is a definite method to defend and a definite method to attack.
"Because when he came in he's looked to make Cardiff difficult to beat. That's what he's done first of all and at times it isn't the most attractive.
"But he's got them closing down all over the field.
"Now the fans are starting to see where he's allowed it to go forward because that is nailed.
"They're starting to express themselves and entertaining, putting good performances in along with the good results."
Cardiff lost to Reading in last season's Championship play-off semi-final and within weeks Jones was sacked after six years in charge.
His successor Mackay has had to rebuild Cardiff's first-team squad, recruiting 11 new players after 12 left before his arrival.
And Perry, who played for the club between 1987 and 1997, admits he is surprised to see Cardiff in such a lofty position in the Championship table.
"I thought a good season this year would have been flirting with the play-offs because it takes a long time to change things," he said.
"He wasn't left with anything. There was no method or identity at Cardiff City. He's had to come in and start from scratch.
"He brought his own players in, but they've really taken on his ideas.
"A difficult thing as a coach is to get your players to buy into your ideas and your methods.
"They've done that and with that then they're moving forward at great pace.
"I have a feeling in that changing room they think they can get promotion."