Daggers coach excited by youngster Jones
12:30 29 January 2015
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Academy star was included on bench at Cambridge alongside captain Abu Ogogo, but Jack Connors surprisingly missed out
Dagenham & Redbridge assistant manager Warren Hackett is certain when Jodi Jones get an opportunity he will grasp it with both hands.
The 17-year-old appeared on the bench for Wayne Burnett’s team for the first time at Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
And although the academy youngster wasn’t introduced during the 1-1 draw at Abbey Stadium, Hackett is sure he is ready.
Jones has played in all three of Daggers Essex Senior Cup matches this campaign, netting two stunning goals in the games against Waltham Abbey and Concord Rangers.
And with supporters calling for him to be given an opportunity, it seems it could come sooner rather than later.
Hackett said: “It is a fantastic achievement. Jodi is 17-years-old and he is still a scholar and he is on the bench for the first team.
“I spoke to him at the end of the game and said ‘how did you enjoy that’ and he said it was just fantastic to be apart of it. He will get his time and he will be ready when he does get his time.
“I would never say it was too early for anybody. You get the likes of Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and those sort of players have played at 16-years-old.
“At the time people probably would have said are they ready? But they got an opportunity. At the end of the day if the boy gets an opportunity – trust me, he will take it.”
Abu Ogogo was also on the bench alongside Jones, but the Daggers skipper was able to make his return from injury by playing in the final stages against Cambridge.
Hackett revealed his delight at having the 25-year-old back fit again and discussed why Jack Connors wasn’t included amongst the substitutes at Abbey Stadium – a surprise considering the impressive recent form of the left-back.
“It is great to get our captain back in the fold. He has been out for 10 weeks,” added Hackett.
“He is a leading and driving force in his actions. He might not be the loudest, but in his actions most people follow so to get him on the pitch was a great lift for everybody.
“No Jack is not injured. We have a lot of competition for places. We have got Joe Widdowson who can play left-back and Ashley Hemmings that can play left-back and Jack as well.
“It was just a shake up to leave him out and a change around to try and find our best team and formation so we are still trying one or two things to try and get a little bit of stability into the team.”