Bristol Rovers West Berkshire connection that got the best out of two Gas youngsters

Hungerford Town goalkeeper Jed Ward. Photo: Jeff Youd.
Jed Ward. Photo: Jeff Youd.

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Hungerford Town manager Danny Robinson has revealed the Bristol Rovers connection that saw two Gas youngsters excel in West Berkshire during the 2022/23 season and earn new contracts.

Goalkeeper Jed Ward and midfielder Ryan Jones both played their part as the Crusaders fought to the bitter end to secure Vanarama National League South survival with Robinson revealing Jones was one of the best he’d worked with.

The Crusaders boss revealed it was Eddy Jennings – Head of Football Operations at Rovers since 2022 where he was previously a consultant – who helped get the deals done.

Speaking on the Berkshire Football Stories podcast, Robinson said: “You get players that are listed for loan, at the time a chap that worked for us said look, we’ve got a goalkeeper here at Bristol Rovers at the start of next year called Jed Ward, would you be interested?

Hungerford Town striker Ryan Jones. Photo: Jeff Youd.
Hungerford Town loanee Ryan Jones. Photo: Jeff Youd.

“It just started from there, we got a really good connection, really good relationship with them, with Swindon Town and to be fair with Wycombe Wanderers, Wycombe have been just as good as Bristol Rovers.

“The two lads we had from Rovers last year, Jed Ward – obviously now at Wealdstone, and going back to one of my favourite players to work with Ryan Jones, he was unbelievable, a special special player.

“You don’t always know what you are going to get with loan players but those two really bought into everything and I know the experience at Hungerford Town is going to make them a lot stronger, a lot better and I was chuffed they both got extra deals.”

Listen to the full Berkshire Football Stories Podcast with Danny Robinson below, or watch it on YouTube here

Both players earned praise from Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton last season and were subsequently awarded contract extentions.

On Jones, Barton said: “He’s done really well out on loan last season, getting a lot of game time, which is very important for young players and this contract is a reward for his efforts. He must continue to work hard and, with that, he will keep improving.”

Barton also predicted Ward wasn’t far away from challenging for the Gas first team: “The next goalkeeper then is young Jed Ward, who has gone out on loan and done superbly, but he’s probably 12-18 months away from challenging Belly for the shirt.”

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