For the second successive season, Sam Jones has carved a pathway into the first team after getting the nod from Kyle Jordan to sign the forms and to help keep the competition for places at Worksop Town at a very high standard.
Jones was originally called up in January 2019 after impressing in the Under-19s, making his first-team debut in a League Cup win against Maltby Main. Jones replaced Connor Brunt in the dying stages with the Tigers leading by a single goal, however Main equalised in stoppage time to take the game to extra time, where Jones stepped up and played very well to help Worksop to an eventual 2-1 win.
Jones then had to wait until the penultimate game of the season when he replaced Deegan Atherton, who picked up an injury 36 minutes into a 1-0 win against Garforth Town. Sam impressed and earned his full debut at Sandy Lane the week after as Worksop beat Eccleshill United 2-1 – this was the game that Worksop Town lifted the Northern Counties Eastern League title in front of a crowd over 550.
Now the captain of the club’s Under-21 side, the wing-back made his first appearance of the season in the Tigers’ 4-1 victory over Wisbech Town in the Integro League Cup, replacing Danny Patterson early into the second half.
We had a short chat with Sam about returning to the club and featuring for the first team.
How does it feel to be back at the club?
“It feels great, and like I haven’t been gone really. I had a warm welcome again from the lads yesterday [against Wisbech Town] which is always nice after not being there for a few months, and I’m really glad to be back and getting a few minutes again for the Tigers.”
Are you happy to be skipper of the Under-21 side?
“I’m over the moon to captain a team like we have this season. It can be a big responsibility, but with the players we’ve got in the squad, and the togetherness and character we’ve already built, it is a pleasure.”
How did you find your first minutes back with first team?
“To be fair, I didn’t expect to come on that early into the second half; with Danny Patterson getting a knock, it came to a bit of a surprise for me, but all I could do was put my everything into my performance and do whatever Kyle Jordan tells me to do, and hopefully I played well when I came on. The lads are always shouting on the pitch, helping you out all the way through the game anyway, so I always knew I’d never be on my own.”
How do you think this season will go for Under-21s and you personally?
“Well we’ve had a class start to it to say the least, everyone’s bonded fantastically, and we all seem to have a laugh together when we’re with each other, and that’s the management included. We’ve had two good wins out of two games, they were both well-deserved down to the desire and relentlessness that we have as a team, and I can see us doing really well in the season coming with the talent and depth in the squad. Me personally, all I can do is give my everything for the 21s and hopefully get some more minutes and experience with the first team.”