A look at Ritchie Jones
By Tony Scholes
Updated Thursday, 20th March 2008
Spectators at last night's reserve game saw un unfamiliar name on the 10p team sheet, that of Richard Jones in the number eight shirt, lined up against number nine Steve Jones.
The Stockport born Jones signed a professional contract at Old Trafford in the summer of 2003 but at times his progress was halted by the presence of David Jones in the midfield area preventing him from holding down a regular reserve team place.
When David went out on loan to Preston it proved to be a boost for Ritchie who stepped into his shoes and in October 2005 he made his first team debut against Barnet in a League Cup tie. Such was his performance that he also made substitute appearances in subsequent rounds against West Brom and Birmingham.
However, his only other action for United's first team was in the FA Cup against Burton Albion and the rest of his first team football has been away from Old Tafford.
He trod the familiar path of a move to Royal Antwerp but, before he could kick a ball for them, was recalled because of an injury crisis back at United. He did eventually get out on loan during last season, firstly with Colchester United and then with Barnsley. He made ten appearances in the Championship last season but only one of them was from the start, that for Barnsley at Ipswich last April.
This season he was with Yeovil for the first half of the season and played in ten League One games with six of them starts, but his loan ended at the last transfer window and he's since been back at Old Trafford.
Manchester United describe him as a player who brings a valuable blend of graft and guile to their reserve team. They say his insatiable approach to gain possession makes it easy to class him as a bread and butter ball winner but his excellent distribution marks him out as a classy prospect.
He's been with the Clarets for a week in training and manager Owen Coyle has said he wanted to see him in match action. "He's been training with us for a bout a week, so we just wanted to have a look at him in games and I thought he did very well," Coyle said.
He added: "He is under contract to another club at the moment, so it would be remiss of me to speak any more about him, but I like the look of him."