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Golden oldie Gary Jones hopes his time's not up at Bantams
Evergreen Gary Jones intends to keep playing next season – and he hopes it will still be with City.
The veteran skipper does not expect to start any discussions on his future until the club’s own position is rubber-stamped.
The Bantams go into tonight’s home clash with Walsall seven points above the drop zone with nine games left.
Jones is eager to see the job through before he turns 37 in June. But then he will present his case for extending a career that is currently only 19 short of 700 appearances.
He said: “We haven’t really spoken about it yet. We should knuckle down and finish the season as best we can and then try and sort something out.
“There are a lot of players out of contract at the club in the summer – something like 13 or 14. It’s going to be a revolving door.
“But I’d like to carry on playing. Before the other week, I’d played every minute of every game.
“You never know what’s round the corner in football but barring the illness, I’ve felt fine.”
The virus which forced him to miss City’s trip to Colchester a fortnight ago ended a run of 34 straight league starts this season.
When Jones signed a new one-year deal last summer, Phil Parkinson had suggested he would not be playing as much.
Jones added: “That’s what he told me when we spoke before the start!
“I never thought I’d be playing week in, week out but I don’t suppose you ever do when you’re 36 years old.
“But what’s done is done and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. What can you not like about playing for this football club?
“You want to turn out and show everybody what it means to wear a Bradford City shirt. It’s the be all and end all for me – every time I play, I want to do my best.”
Jones is likely to make his first start tonight since being laid low.
He has come off the bench in the last two games, replacing Nathan Doyle before half-time at Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Doyle overstretched his groin and is struggling to recover in time so Jones is expected to pair up with Matty Dolan against the Saddlers.
City have been monitoring the captain’s recovery carefully and Jones admitted it has been a tough couple of weeks.
He said: “I was off the week leading up to Brentford away with sickness and diarrhoea. I had no energy whatsoever.
“In hindsight I shouldn’t have played that day but being a footballer you want to play every game.
“But that knocked me for six and after that I couldn’t get out of bed. I was really struggling.
“It was strange not being there at the Colchester game. I was sat with the missus watching Coronation Street and twiddling my thumbs but luckily the lads got a great result that night.
“It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks. But I went for blood tests and they all came back clear, so touch wood now I can focus on my football again.”
Jones’ own form has kicked on since the turn of the year and he almost single-handedly dragged City back from defeat in games against Sheffield United and Crewe.
He said: “We were having that bad run and confidence was low.
“It’s amazing what one good result or one good performance can do.
“You look at Manchester United the other night against Olympiakos and the pressure they were under. But they still pulled it out of the bag to go through in the Champions’ League.
“One performance like that can change a season and you get that confidence back.
“We need to finish the season as strong as we did last year. Do that and it will have been a very good season consolidating in a new division.”
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