POTTERS HAVE GOT A RISING STAR IN BOSS JONES
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.