HOME-grown Mark Jones is a step closer to securing his dream job of coach at the Newcastle Jets.
The Newcastle Herald understands that Jones is one of three final candidates, whittled down from 80, after the shock sacking of Scott Miller and assistant Luciano Trani on consecutive days a fortnight ago.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna confirmed that he had held a second round of talks with three Australian coaches and expects to finalise an appointment Friday.
Jones is currently in charge of Adelaide’s youth team and W-League outfits, but told The Herald last week “I’m from Newcastle and my goal is to become a head coach in the A-League, so obviously I’m interested in that job.” “I think I’ve done my time and shown I’m ready.”
Youth team coach Clayton Zane has steered the Jets to consecutive 4-0 wins over Edgeworth and a second-string Melbourne City since Miller’s departure, and is likely to be Jones’ assistant if the former defender gets the nod.
It would be the 50-year-old’s third stint at the Jets. He spent four years as assistant coach to Gary van Egmond, highlighted by the 2007-08 championship, departing soon after the Nathan Tinkler takeover in 2010. He returned midway through the 2014-15 campaign to assist Phil Stubbins and stayed on briefly working with Miller. Jones’ resume also includes roles in Malaysia, China, Singapore, Perth and the Mariners.
McKinna said that the majority of the 80 applicants were from overseas including a “few big names”.
Former England striker Teddy Sheringham, in partnership with Michael Bridges, was among those to miss out.
“There were a few guys with Premier League experience, a few with European league experience,” McKinna said. “I went straight to the agent and asked what kind of package are these guys looking for and it cuts it back pretty quick. We didn’t want this [Miller’s axing] to happen four weeks out from the start of the season. The Australians know the A-League, they will know some of the players and it will be an easier transition. If you look at the foreign players who come in, they don’t often start well. It takes them a wee while to get up to speed with it.”
As well as Jones, Darren Stewart, Damian Mori, Arthur Papas and Mike Mulvey are understood to be in consideration.
Meanwhile, Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko (calf strain) has resumed training and is likely to take part in the friendly against Western Sydney in Cessnock on Saturday. Teenage striker Kristian Brymora is expected to be confirmed as the third under-20 player on the roster.