Player profile: Gary Jones

Cod Almighty | Article

by Mike Worden

6 August 2007

Most Town fans would have been pleased to hear the news at the end of last season that Gary Jones had signed a further one-year deal with the club. After a fairly disappointing season by his standards, it would not have been unexpected to have seen 'Lumpaldinho' heading back to the north-west.

The lad from Ellesmere Port was a vital part of the Russell Slade team that looked odds-on for promotion in 2005–06. Seventeen goals were tucked away that season off various parts of the Lump's anatomy. Indeed, such was Jones' influence that season that it was a mighty blow to our promotion chances when he was harshly red-carded in the Lincoln play-off game, ruling him out of the final. An appeal was successful but all in vain as the team blew it big-style in Cardiff.

Something had gone not quite right over the 2006 summer for our Gary as he arrived back in July not quite the same player and then struggled to find form for a good part of the season. With Michael Reddy out injured, various combinations of home-grown youngsters and ineffective loanees as partners probably didn't help Jones to find his best form.

When Buckley arrived he tended to favour a lone striker system away from home. This would not suit 15-stone Gary's game, and Danny North was favoured in that role with Jones starting on the bench. Often, though, the system had to be changed during the game and Jones' vision, positioning and supporting play became apparent again. Hereford away in March was a typical example, where Jones' introduction with 20 minutes left changed the game, immediately making it look like Town would score; they did and won the match.

He's at his best winning balls in the air and knocking them on for a supporting striker. Tranmere fans point to his versatility, but he hasn't played many games for us in central defence like he did at Prenton Park.

Buckley must have seen enough of Jones' worth to be keen for another year and he can certainly help to bring on North and Taylor in that time. This will almost certainly be his last season in black and white, though, and we'll all don our Lumpaldinho T-shirts for the final game of the season to salute our big man.