THE 1874 COLUMN - By Matt Waters

AFTER joining 1874 in the 2016/17 season, Mark Jones instantly became a fans’ favourite and has been such a crucial member of our squad with his wealth of experience.

Since he joined, Jones has made over 100 appearances and has been an integral part of the recent success under Wayne Goodison and Paul Bowyer.

It is clear to see the desire he has for us to get promoted this season.

He said: “We never had any specific targets set at the start of the season, but when you’re constantly playing and winning games like we have been, the obvious aim has to be to get promoted.

“The way to do that is by taking it one game at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves and the lads are all on the same page with that.

“We have to keep going and pushing on playing at our best every game.”

With us currently lying in first place in the league, Jones believes that this is due to the winning mentality the squad have built.

“I don’t feel we’ve done much different to other seasons but this year it’s just clicked,” he said.

“We’ve come together really well over the past few years and developed a really good winning mentality.

“When everyone in the squad keeps playing well, it spurs us all on.

“Matt Woolley has been outstanding all season from midfield and so has everybody else, we just have to keep it going now.”

Currently 1874 have the best defence in the league, conceding 0.96 goals per game, and part of this superb record has been due to the brilliant relationship Jones, Lee Jackson, Mike Koral and Matt Russell have built.

After the injuries to Ryan Mitchell and Jack Pritchard early into the season, Jones and Lee Jackson have both been formidable at the back alongside Mike Koral moving from a versatile right winger striker to right back.

Jones explained how they’ve built such a defiant defence.

He said: “It was challenging at the start of the season. For myself, I don’t mind dropping back as I’m getting older and letting the other lads play.

“Mike’s come in at right back and he’s been excellent but Lee Jackson has been outstanding, the performances he puts in week in week out are exactly what we need.

“It’s gelled really well and shows how versatile we are as a team.”

Northwich Guardian:

Lee Jackson. Picture: Frank Oakes

Finally, when talking about how crucial the fans are to 1874, Jones described them as “brilliant.”

He added: “Throughout the time I’ve been here they’ve been exactly the same, through thick and thin they’ve been brilliant.

“To see how much, it means to them when we win after they’ve sang their way through games, it’s just great and hopefully we can win more for them.”