Ex-Bristol Rovers youngster hoping to take chance in Vanarama National League

Ryan Jones is mobbed by his Hungerford Town teammates. Photo: Jeff Youd.
Ryan Jones is mobbed by his Hungerford Town teammates. Photo: Jeff Youd.

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Ryan Jones, who has signed for National League side Aldershot Town on a two-year deal, stood out during a loan spell in Berkshire two seasons ago.

Jones signed for Hungerford Town, then in the National League South, on an initial one-month deal in September 2022 from Bristol Rovers, but impressed enough to remain at Bulpit Lane for the duration of the campaign, winning the club’s Young Player of the Season award.

Such was his influence on the side that manager Danny Robinson, who hailed him as one of the brightest talents he’d ever worked with, moved him from full-back into a more advanced role as the season progressed.

The Bulpit Lane pitch was, at that time, not an obvious place for a technician like Jones to thrive but the versatile youngster appeared totally unphased and dazzled Crusaders fans with a series of spectacular performances.

With the ability to play anywhere down the left-side but probably most effective at wing-back, Jones is a joy to watch with the ball at his feet.

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

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

Capable of going both ways, cultured, intelligent, a threat going forward with both the ability to go past opponents or pick an incisive pass, it was a surprise to see Jones struggle for minutes at eventual National League promotion-winners Bromley last term.

Injuries meant he had to wait until October to make his debut for the Ravens but, despite having his loan deal extended in January, he was limited to just a handful of appearances at Hayes Lane.

Perhaps what worked against him was his lack of physicality – while his considerable talent as a technician more than compensated for his slight stature going forward, it can leave him found wanting defensively.

Even so, boasting big, broad shoulders is not a prerequisite for being a successful full-back and the 22-year-old’s undeniable ability in possession means Aldershot could well have a star on their hands.

Robbie Stelling was a sports reporter for Newbury Today and has kindly submitted this article to Football in Berkshire. You can follow him on Twitter @StellingRobbie

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