THE VERDICT: Groom Jones for Doncaster Rovers’ future
WHOEVER fills the vacant manager’s role at Rovers will have the clear mandate of finishing the job when it comes to promotion back to the Championship, writes Liam Hoden.
But there should also be another priority for the new boss – making sure Rob Jones is groomed as a manager for the future.
In the towering centre half, Rovers have a potential boss or at the very least an inspiring coach.
Jones proves week after week that he is a leader of men.
The squad could not hide their delight when it was revealed Jones would assist Brian Flynn as caretaker.
And his inspiration was plain to see when he headed home another injury time winner for a Rovers side who strengthen their promotion credentials with each passing week.
Hero worship flooded Twitter on Saturday night and for the rest of the weekend.
#RobJonesFacts became one of the UK’s top trending topics as Rovers supporters paid a wry tribute to the big man.
When it comes to Jones, everyone is on board the bandwagon - something very few in football can claim.
He has transformed himself from a defender looking headed for the scrap heap at Sheffield Wednesday to Rovers’ most important and consistent player.
Jones’ name should rightly be up there with the signings of the season in League One.
That is a notion that could grow in strength in years to come, long after his value as a player has waned.
Players love consistency and a friendly face which makes Jones and Flynn a duo that should receive major consideration for the permanent role.
Appointing from within can be a double edged sword as it does lack the jolt a squad can often need, either as motivation or a reminder to keep up the effort.
But this Rovers squad could not be accused of dropping their determination to succeed and seem unlikely to do so unless the boat is significantly rocked.
An experienced head like Flynn is a perfect character to guide Jones through the first tentative steps into management.
But whoever is ultimately appointed should be tasked with that same process.
Jones has embraced Rovers as Rovers have embraced him.
He wants to manage in the future so it would be very wise to start him on that journey here – you would not want to regret overlooking him.
Whether it is right away or in the summer, Jones must be handed a coaching role by whoever takes charge in the coming days.
The Corporal must lead this army into many battles to come.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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