Doncaster Rovers: Skipper Jones to guide youth

Rob Jones
Rob Jones

The development of young talent is definitely the order of the day for Rovers – and skipper Rob Jones is set to play a key role within that.

Jones has received the long-awaited all-clear on a neck problem which has kept him out of action since last October.

And as he begins on the road back to Paul Dickov’s starting XI, Jones is also set to step up work as a coach at the club.

The 34-year-old will take a more active role with the development squad during the coming season as he looks to fulfil his coaching ambitions.

“Myself and Rob sat down at the end of last season and discussed his future,” Dickov told the Star.

“First and foremost, we wanted the all-clear for Rob and then all his concentration has to go on playing. But I do think Rob has got a lot to offer the younger kids.

“When he’s fit he will be with the first team but there’s no reason why he can’t help the younger kids, taking them in afternoon sessions and being involved in development squad games.

“It will help the kids but also Rob because he has aspirations of being a coach in the future.

“It’ll give him an insight and help him along the way.

“It’s something I suggested to Rob and it’s something he’s up on.

“Primarily he is my captain. He’s someone players look up to and the most important thing for him starting off is his playing career.

“But within that, if we can utilise Rob alongside myself, Paul Butler and Brian Horton with helping the kids, then that’s what we will do.”

Jones was on Monday given the go-ahead to resume full training after his vertebrae were successfully fused. The centre half has reported no ill-affects from taking part in the majority of training sessions this summer, where the only restriction place on his was not heading the ball.

Despite his coaching aspirations, Dickov was keen to stress Jones’ number one priority has to be as an active player and captain this season.

And he is unlikely to take any risks with Jones’ fitness given the thin nature of his squad.

Young centre half Liam Wakefield has yet to sign a new deal – although he is expected to do so this week – leaving Luke McCullough as the club’s only recognised fit senior centre half with Jamie McCombe continuing to suffer with a back problem.

Paul Quinn remains under contract with the club but, like Richie Wellens, will not be considered as part of Dickov’s plans due to the relegation release clause which remains active in his contract.

Another defender, James Husband, is expected to complete his departure from the club to Middlesbrough today, in a deal rumoured to be worth £500,000.

Reports on Teesside suggest 22-year-old Boro striker Curtis Main has agreed to join Rovers as part of the transfer.

Husband’s transfer is set to trigger a raft of business for Rovers including the return of James Coppinger to the club.