AFC Wimbledon hero Jones cannot rest on his laurels

No guarantees: Darren Jones may have hit his first goal of the season at the weekend, but he knows it does not relate to a starting place this weekend                      SP82538

No guarantees: Darren Jones may have hit his first goal of the season at the weekend, but he knows it does not relate to a starting place this weekend SP82538

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Darren Jones may be enjoying hero status after his late strike at Burton Albion, but he knows it does not guarantee him a starting place this weekend.

Moreover, the Dons defender knows it also does not guarantee a new contract at the end of the season.

Jones signed from Shrewsbury Town in the summer as boss Neal Ardley moved to cover a growing injury list.

Now those players are returning, Jones is having to fight for his place.

“There are a lot of good players here, and I know competition for places is tough,” the 30-year-old said.

“All you can do is train hard and make sure you play well so that the gaffer has no choice but to select you for the next game.

“But for me, I must do enough to make sure he offers me another contract at the end of the season, and the increased competition can only help.”

He added: “If a contract is on the right terms, then I would happily sign, but I know I am in the shop window at the moment, so I need to give my all.

“The most important thing however, is that we survive in League Two.”

Jones’ late, late strike at Burton was his first in Dons colours, and rather than bathe in the excitement, he says the goal was about more than him.

He said: “It was very important that we got the leveller after all the hard work we had put in.

“Getting a point away from home, especially at Burton who are a good side, was a good result.

“We’ve played well in games before and not got anything out of them, which has been disappointing, but this time we got what we deserved.”

He added: “I remember about five players going up for a header at the corner, and I hung back because often the ball will go straight through.

“When it came to me, I took a touch and shot for goal. I was not surprised to see it go in because as long as a shot is on target it could take a nick off a player, the keeper could be unsighted, anything.

“My goals tally has dried up over recent years, so it was nice to get the goal, but we deserved it as a team.”

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