Doncaster Rovers: No hiding Jones’ desire for permanent position

Rob Jones looks at ease on the sidelines
Rob Jones looks at ease on the sidelines

Rob Jones has refused on multiple occasions to say whether he wants the manager’s job at Doncaster Rovers on a permanent basis - but he is fooling no one.

Since being handed the reins on an interim basis following Paul Dickov’s sacking last week, Jones has shown nothing but enthusiasm for the job at hand.

After the game at Walsall on Saturday, his delight at being in the position was clear to see. Even after a defeat which laid bare the task at hand for whomever is to succeed Dickov, Jones only appeared excited at the opportunity presented to him.

“All I can say is that I’m delighted to be doing what I’m doing,” Jones told the Free Press.

“I’m loving it.

“I didn’t love the last five minutes at Walsall but I’m loving this responsibility and this role.

“And I’m going to make it my role and responsibility to take this club forward with the help of the staff and players I have.”

Jones’ desire to follow his playing career by stepping into coaching stretched back long before he arrived at the Keepmoat on a free in the summer of 2012.

But he concluded his first season with Rovers as a coach, standing alongside Brian Flynn as they finished the work started by Dean Saunders in taking Rovers to the League One title.

Such is the impact Jones has made on the club that it feels as though he has been in Doncaster for much longer than his three year stint.

And it is clear the club has made an impact on him also.

He said: “I’m very passionate about this football club.

“I want this club to do well and progress.

“I’ll do everything I can to make that happen.

“We as a group will work tirelessly to turn this situation around and move us forward.

“We are not far away.

“We just need that bit of luck, that goal, that little knick here or there which will change the whole complexion.

“It’s important that, as a group, we move forward together.

“If we do that, we will keep progressing.”

Being handed the reins as caretaker has forced the 35-year-old to make some difficult decisions.

Jones, of course, is still an active player. Though currently injured, he has made three starts this season.

And he is in charge of Rovers’ U21 squad and was even preparing for a game when he got the call asking him to become the caretaker boss of the senior squad.

So, with the first team his primary, all-encompassing focus. he must decide just how many jobs he can do at once.

“If you ask my wife, not many,” he joked.

“I have to make sure I focus 100 per cent of my energy and time on the first team.

“If that means not playing, I won’t play. If it means not doing the U21s, I won’t do the U21s.

“I’ve got to sit down and have numerous discussions with individuals about what we do.

“When I make the decisions, I’ll let you know.”

Jones completed his UEFA A License in the summer and will begin an applied management course next year as he works towards the arbitrary qualifications required in modern coaching.

But whatever it may say under the qualifications section of his CV, he believes he is ready for management.

Jones said: “It’s something I did two and a half years ago when we won the league.

“I know I sat alongside Brian Flynn but I’ve aged nearly three years since then and I’ve had some injuries.

“I haven’t been away for the last seven years, doing my badges, this, that and the other, taking the U21s for me to sit back and not do anything.

“Am I ready? I believe so.

“Have I got the experience? Not yet no, but you only get the experience by doing the job.

“This day would come eventually, whatever the club or level.

“I’ve never made no bones about the fact I want to be a manager when I finish playing football.

“This one is interim, I keep adding that fact, and I do as I’m told until told otherwise.

“But I’ll give his job everything I got.”

You may not hear Jones saying directly that he wants the job. But, truthfully, there is little doubt he does.