Doncaster Rovers: Jones to focus on coaching if he extends Rovers stay

Rob Jones
Rob Jones

Rovers want Rob Jones to focus mainly on coaching if he decides to extend his stay at the Keepmoat, the Star understands.

Jones is one of eight players set to open talks with the club about new deals with their contracts about to expire.

But it is understood Jones’ main focus will have to be continuing his lauded work with Rovers’ development squad should he sign a new contract, rather than pushing for regular starts with Paul Dickov’s first team.

The 35-year-old made just 11 appearances over the last 19 months due to severe injury issues.

Dickov is expected to pursue the signing of at least one new centre half, with pace high on his list of attributes for the man expected challenge Andy Butler and Luke McCullough for a starting shirt.

In explaining Rovers’ retained list yesterday, Dickov hinted Jones may have to accept a reduced playing role next term, should he agree to stay.

He said: “Rob Jones had his injury problems, but I think he’s got a lot to offer on and off the pitch.

“The one thing we have stressed to the players who will be here next year is that there’s no guarantees but Rob’s done a great job with the development squad and we want him to continue with the coaching side too.”

Jones is one of just two first team regulars to be offered fresh terms with Kyle Bennett also set to discuss a new contract.

Bennett is expected to sign for Portsmouth after holding discussions with new Pompey boss Paul Cook.

But Dickov says it should not be taken as a foregone conclusion that Bennett’s time with Rovers is over.

“There’ll be interest in him because he’s a good player but all the conversations I’ve had with him and his representatives are that he wants to stay,” Dickov said.

“We’ll sit down with him and his agent this week.

“I know about the interest and they’re not trying to do it behind our backs – we’re aware of what’s going on – but all the indications are that he wants to stay.”

The other players to be offered new contracts have all emerged from Rovers’ academy set-up.

Harry Middleton has been offered a new deal after two starts, four substitute appearances and a further 15 occasions as an unused sub.

Mitchell Lund, who started Rovers’ last four games at right back, will also discuss new terms, as will Liam Wakefield – who is recovering after rupturing ankle ligaments earlier this year – and midfielder Billy Whitehouse.

Defender Ben Askins has been offered a six month deal as he looks to prove his fitness following an injury-hit campaign, while winger Matthew Davies will have his scholarship extended.

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