Stoke City: Jones eyes Potters starting role
KENWYNE Jones is hoping his efforts off the bench can earn him a long-awaited place in Stoke's starting line-up.
The Trinidad and Tobago international has only started five league games in 2012, the last of which was the 1-1 draw at home to Everton on May 1.
However, the 28-year-old striker strengthened his case with an impressive display after coming on for the final 15 minutes of Saturday's 1-0 win at home to QPR.
He's anxious not to be critical of Tony Pulis's decision not to play him more regularly, but says he would like to be more than a bit-part player.
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He explained: "I have to be careful how I am answering this question; I don't want to be too honest.
"I guess the manager knows what his plans are for the season, so all I can do is just keep doing what I am doing. Hopefully that will warrant some sort of reward before the season ends.
"I can only do what I can. There are quite a few players in that position and we are all working hard to try to get that place.
"Whether or not we get it is a different story, but every day we are going to keep working and keep grinding away to try to make ourselves and the team better."
City moved up to 12th with Saturday's win and Jones believes they can push into the top half of the table over the next three games – away to West Ham on Monday, at home to Fulham on November 24 and at home to Newcastle on November 28.
City have the joint-best defensive record in the division with Manchester City, having only conceded 10 goals.
However, they are also the fourth lowest scorers with nine goals, and have drawn six of their 11 league games. Jones said: "We need to put a few results together, mainly wins.
"I think we need to get at least seven points from the next three games. Hopefully that will take us even further up the table because if we stay in this mode of drawing games it will become a bit too much coming down to the business end of the season.
"Being 12th guarantees you nothing. We need to keep putting the results together so we can move further and further away from the pack below."
Jones, right, was speaking at Newcastle-under-Lyme College yesterday where he was helping launch Stoke City's new partnership with the college's basketball academy. City are using their own and top-flight football's popularity to promote basketball at the college through the Premier League 4 Sport Initiative.
Through the initiative, Stoke have helped more than 5,000 youngsters take part in different sports since the club took up the Premier League scheme three years ago. This has included 20,000 hours of coaching.
Newcastle College already has a successful basketball academy which includes an under-16 team and the Newcastle Knights senior team. Newcastle were the British Colleges West Midlands Basketball League winners and National Cup finalists in a successful 2011-12 season.
The college are keen to promote sport among students who may not necessarily be studying for sports-related qualifications.
Jones said he was delighted to promote participation in sport.
He said: "Not everyone can have an athlete's fitness, but it's important that kids achieve some type of fitness.
"If you fall away too easily it sets a trend for the rest of your life."