Louis Jones on being locked out at Doncaster Rovers and taking his chance
Being denied any hope of playing for Doncaster Rovers before the turn of the year was tough to take for goalkeeper Louis Jones.
Circumstances dictated that while the Academy graduate could be a part of matchday squads, it would have taken an emergency situation for him to be handed the gloves in a senior game.
When Josef Bursik was recalled from his loan by parent club Stoke City in November, previous Rovers boss Darren Moore opted to bring in Joe Lumley from Queens Park Rangers on an emergency loan basis.
At that point Jones had made four senior appearances for Rovers. Under emergency loan regulations, if clubs have a goalkeeper that has made five senior appearances fit and available then they are barred from making such a signing - which locked the 22-year-old out.
Jones admitted he had hoped to be handed an opportunity in the side after Bursik’s recall and that he found the situation of having no chance of playing very difficult.
“I feel like I was getting close at that point,” he told the Free Press.
“We weren’t on a great run of form and I thought I got to a point where it was close between me and Joe [Bursik] and I’d got a chance of getting put in.
“He was recalled and he’s done really well at Stoke since, which is great for him.
“When someone was coming in on an emergency loan, it was difficult. I knew every week and every day that I was training that while he was there, there was no way at all that I could play because of the regulations.
“You have to look long term. I’ve had a lot of times when I’ve been close and I think without having setbacks, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with things like that.
Moore brought in Ellery Balcombe on loan for the remainder of the season in January with the Brentford keeper starting each game afterwards.
But following Moore’s departure to Sheffield Wednesday, Jones has taken the number one spot under new boss Andy Butler, starting with his league debut against Portsmouth.
“Before I made my debut I’d had 70 games on the bench without ever coming on,” he said.
“I’ve been here a long time and I’ve built a good relationship with everyone.”