Gethin Jones has spoken of his pride of his Bolton Wanderers spell and is aiming to be part of the squad which reaches the Championship and beyond in seasons to come.
Wanderers sit 11th in League One after returning to the division following promotion out of League Two last season.
A late potential push to the play-offs has now ended and all focus at Bolton is now ended this season on a high. Wanderers have four matches left to play this campaign, starting tomorrow with the trip to Doncaster Rovers.
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Jones has been at Wanderers since the beginning of Ian Evatt’s time as Bolton boss and has grown to become a key, dependable and reliable figure on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Along with skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos, Jones is one of a few players from Evatt’s original cohort who are still receiving regular game time and, not only that, has become the club’s vice-captain.
Jones is proud of the role he plays at Bolton and has racked up 67 appearances in all competitions since joining Wanderers in August 2020, scoring three goals in the process.
The defender is focused on a positive end to the present campaign before looking forward to the next one and the promise it holds after the positives of this season.
And he is proud of the part he continues to play as he aims to be part of the squad which one day is back in the Championship and possibly even the Premier League.
He said: “We’re all going to keep working hard. We’ve still got a lot of things that we need to work on. Some of the lads are still fresh from January, we’ve changed the style of play, we ‘ve changed the formation and we’ve still got loads and loads that we can give.
“We still work on things everyday and how to improve in and out of possession, so if we keep working hard from now until the end of the season then we’ll see where we finish and then we’ll have a little break to crack on next year.We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing at the moment until the end of the season.
“I have played in League One and a few games in the Championship, so I know the league it is all about. When I did play in League One in the past, it wasn’t as consistent as it has been at Bolton.
“I have worked hard on my game over the last few years and that is one thing I wanted to get into my game more, being consistent. Every game and in training, working hard. I have found it okay and I think a lot of the lads have found it alright. We have played in very big games this year as a young squad, and we have done alright as a team.
“I’m very proud. When I first signed the deal here, just to be here was a very proud moment because it is such a big club. The squad has rotated quite a bit, there have been a lot of ins and outs.
“To still be part of this squad and what we want to achieve and how we want to move forwards – to get into the Championship and hopefully one day the Premier League – I’m very proud to still be involved.”
Jones began the season at right-back but since mid-January switched into the back three as Marlon Fossey arrived on loan from Fulham.
The duo went on to form a good relationship on the right flank, which was unfortunately curtailed due to the Fulham loanee’s season ending early in light of a torn meniscus.
The Wanderers vice-captain spoke of how he and skipper Santos police the dressing room as a leadership team and it is something Jones relishes.
And he spoke of the influence that veteran defender Alex Baptiste has had in the dressing room to and how the Wanderers squad look up to the former Blackpool defender.
He said: “When I first signed for Carlisle, I played two games there (in a back three). The manager wanted me to do a job there and then he moved me to wing-back and then we went to a back four, so I went to a normal right-back position.
“When I first came back, the manager spoke to me and said he thought that me and Marlon (Fossey) could have a good relationship on that side, and we did. I loved playing with Marlon and it was an enjoyable position for me because I didn’t have to stay back, I still got the freedom to go forward as much as I wanted to.
“It was very disappointing to hear that Marlon had an injury. I gave him a little text because obviously I wasn’t here, so I’m still in contact with him to see how he is.
“Me and Rico have had to have a few conversations in the changing rooms with some lads sometimes and obviously we have to watch over everything.
“Like the manager said, he wants the players to police the changing rooms, he doesn’t need to get involved with everything. It has been a massive opportunity for me to grasp it with both hands. It is something I have always wanted to be, I wanted to be a leader and I am proud to be a leader of this football club.
“But it is not just me and Rico, there are many experienced lads. The lads who don’t play as much like Alex Baptiste, he is massive in the changing rooms for us. Obviously, he has played in the Premier League and he is someone we all look up to so when he speaks, we all listen. I am very proud.”