POT­TERS HAVE GOT A RIS­ING STAR IN BOSS JONES

The Football League Paper - - LAST WORD -

STOKE City have splashed the cash again, not on play­ers, but on man­ager Nathan Jones whom they se­cured for £1m from Luton Town. The 45-year-old did a mag­nif­i­cent job at Ke­nil­worth Road, even pick­ing up the League One man­ager of the month award for De­cem­ber dressed in his Stoke City train­ing top! Jones has al­ready en­deared him­self to fans with his hon­esty and clar­ity of how he will hope to bring suc­cess to City. His pos­i­tiv­ity has had an im­pact. Rather than cast all of the pre­vi­ous staff aside, Jones has re­tained for­mer Pot­ters player Rory De­lap, a sen­si­ble move that de­liv­ers con­ti­nu­ity and a con­nec­tion with the fans, whilst his steely de­ter­mi­na­tion to be a suc­cess shines through. I have watched Jones’ Luton side nu­mer­ous times and he had them play­ing a dis­tinc­tive style which seemed to suit his squad. Of­ten lined up in a 4-4-2 with a di­a­mond mid­field, the Hat­ters were an ex­cel­lent at­tack­ing force and their home form was in­cred­i­ble with eight wins and two draws from the last ten. This form no doubt alerted clubs who were on the look­out for a new man­ager and the speed with which Jones was in­stalled, some 24 hours after Gary Rowett was sacked, shows that his bur­geon­ing ca­reer was be­ing closely tracked. This is no sur­prise to me as chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Sc­holes spoke on my FA UEFA Pro Li­cence coach­ing course a few years ago and re­vealed how they iden­ti­fied and se­lected their man­agers. Man­agers are fol­lowed just as closely as play­ers and, once their search is nar­rowed down, any doubts are raised once they have the man they want in the room. With Mark Hughes, it was his re­la­tion­ship with agent Kia Joorabchian and, once their fears were al­layed, Hughes was in­stalled. I doubt there were many con­cerns with Jones and, to me, it seems they have a ris­ing star des­tined for the top.

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