Steve Jones has praised the talent of the Motherwell squad – but has set his sight on proving he too is worthy of a regular place in the starting eleven.
The Northern Irishman admits that he has been surprised with the overall standard of the Scottish game; in particular, the ‘Well ranks, and he has tipped the likes of Jamie Murphy, Chris Humphrey and Shaun Hutchison for great things.
“I see enough talent there to go, at the very least, into the Championship,” he praised. “The players here are still young and learning and have a great opportunity.
“There’s even clubs in the English Premier League – your Bolton’s and Fulham’s – who bring in young players and nurture them through. There are definitely boys here who have that potential. I really think the sky is the limit.
“John Sutton is banging in the goals, Murph (Jamie Murphy) and Humphs (Chris Humphrey) have been superb and I have been really impressed with big Hutch (Shaun Hutchinson) who has been really dominant and impressive at the back.”
Despite what he admits is fierce competition for a first-team place, the former Northern Irish internationalist has hopes of fighting his way into the first-team reckoning at Fir Park.
If he achieves that, and perhaps features in a Cup final in the process, Jones confesses that he would be keen to sit down and talk terms with Motherwell. His contract at parent club Walsall expires in the summer and he would not be averse to extending ‘a really enjoyable’ spell in North Lanarkshire.
No-one is totally safe; the squad which played in the semi-final may not be the squad that plays in the final,” the 34-year old said keenly. “So I’ll be on my toes, just like the rest of the players.
He continued: “I’m open to all options. I see no reason why I wouldn’t want to stay (at Motherwell), as I’m really enjoying my time here and that’s the main thing. It’s too early to start talking about these things – that will come at the end of the season. But I feel like I look after myself the right way and have plenty of football left in me.”
The Motherwell on-loan winger also dismissed any idea that the Steelmen may switch off in the SPL with the May 21st showpiece to look forward to.
Instead, he believes it will inspire a surge in the final five games as players fight to secure their place in the team on that special occasion – starting with the trip to Tynecastle; a location where ‘Well are unbeaten in their last three visits. Indeed, Jim Jefferies has not tasted victory over Motherwell in Gorgie since he returned to Hearts.
“We had a meeting yesterday and we all said that we don’t just want to stay where we are,” the determined former Bradford player insisted. “Especially with a Cup final place on the line; we will push on and hopefully win as many games as we can.”