Nathan Jones: "We want to lift the fans"

Nathan Jones is in temporary charge of the Albion. Photograph: Paul Hazlewood.
Nathan Jones is in temporary charge of the Albion. Photograph: Paul Hazlewood.

Nathan Jones wants the Brighton players to show they'll play for the shirt.

Nathan Jones has issues a rallying call to Brighton and Hove Albion fans ahead of the club’s vital Boxing Day clash with Reading.

The one-time Brighton player has been put in temporary charge of the Seagulls while Tony Bloom et al track down a replacement for Sami Hyypia.

Jones, who made more than 150 league appearances for the Albion between 2000 and 2005, was assistant manager to both Hyypia and his predecessor Oscar Garcia.

A well-respected coach, Jones returned to Brighton following coaching spells at Yeovil Town and Charlton Athletic, where he developed a solid reputation while running the Addicks’ under-21 side.

Brighton have been linked with Karl Robinson, Uwe Rosler, Tony Pulis, Tim Sherwood and an array of other managers, leaving Jones as an outside bet to be given the job on a permanent basis.

But that has not stopped him from making his mark on the Seagulls squad, having already recalled Craig Mackail-Smith from his loan spell at Peterborough United.

Speaking ahead of the Reading match, Jones said he hoped supporters would flock to the Amex and give the team their full backing following a fracture last few weeks under Hyypia.

He said: “It’s an important game and if we start positively, we can lift the mood of everyone quickly.

“From the board of directors, coaches, academy staff, media, fans and players, we all have a role to play, but it is the fans and players who are going to be the most important on Friday.

“We want to lift the fans, but we also want the fans to come with a real energy about them and remember who we are.

“I also want to put out a team that’s worthy of getting a result and that’s going to lift the place, to get the fans on our side.

“I want them to see that we have a group of players who want to play for the shirt rather than focus on any tactical changes or personnel changes.

“Clubs have their ups and downs and it’s all about how you come through those dips, which is going to be the test now at Brighton. But the club is amazing and keeps coming through those times.”