FORMER Sheffield Wednesday skipper Rob Jones has had to endure a bit of friendly banter from manager Dean Saunders after making a ‘goal-scoring’ debut for Doncaster Rovers in Tuesday’s 3-1 friendly win over Hull City.
The 32-year-old centre-back, who had only signed for the club earlier in the day, put into his own net trying to clear the danger from a cross into the six-yard box in the opening minutes, but he had no problem with being thrown in at the ‘deep end.’
“I needed to get 90 minutes under my belt,” he said. “I’d not played for Wednesday since the first week of pre-season, so I’d only played 72 minutes and I was a bit rusty.
“It was a difficult one not knowing the names of many of the players, but that will come in time.”
Reflecting on the game, Jones said: “We didn’t really have the ball in the first half as much as we would have liked but I thought that we dictated the play in the second and scored three goals.
“It could have been more, and we restricted them to probably two or three half chances.
“I thought the second half performance was very exciting and showed where we are and where we want to go.”
Looking back on his own performance, Jones said: “Take away the first ten minutes and I was quite pleased.
“The sharpness is not there as yet, neither is the timing. But I’ve got over two weeks to try and get there before our first league match.
“There are another two (pre-season) games before the York game (in the League Cup), and I’ll be looking to put some hard work in training.
“It was good to get 90 minutes and what a goal! As I say, I was pleased with my performance - not over excited - but pleased. I’m still working towards full fitness and to be where I want to be, but that will come.”
Having helped the Owls win promotion to the Championship, though he wasn’t a regular following the arrival of new boss Dave Jones in the latter stages of the campaign, Jones says he had no regrets at missing out on playing second tier football with his former club. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sheffield Wednesday; I loved every minute of it, but I’m delighted to be here,” he said.
“It’s a case of one chapter ends and another starts.”
Rovers boss Dean Saunders, who had found himself without a recognised senior centre-back after skipper George Friend was pulled out of pre-season games while he spoke to several interested parties, checked out Jones’ situation at Wednesday.
Jones, who travelled with the Owls to Portugal last week, spoke to Saunders and watched last Saturday’s 0-0 draw between the two clubs at the Keepmoat Stadium.
He added: “An opportunity came up and I spoke to the Wednesday manager and he made it clear that I could go and talk to Dean Saunders.
“He didn’t have to sell the club to me.
“They’ve got a great stadium; they’ve spent the last four years in the Championship, so it’s a Championship club; they’ve got a good fan base and they’ve got a bundle of good players.
“It’s going to be a long season, a difficult season, but I did it last season so I’ve got the experience (of League One).
“Having said that, there is an awful lot of experience here; you don’t play in the Championship for four years and not gain experience and we’ve got a good chance of going to where we want to go next season.”