English Premier League side Southampton have asked that new kid on the block Kenwyne Jones not travel home with some of his UK-based teammates on Sunday to join the rest of the Trinidad and Tobago team for back to back friendlies against Haiti.
Instead, because of his current run of form, Jones will remain for the clubs match against Birmingham City on Wednesday and will travel home later in the week. He came on in the 64th minute of Southamptons 2-1 win over Portsmouth in FA Cup fourth round action on Saturday.
Coventry City striker Stern John and Dundee defender Brent Sancho will arrive home on Sunday and will report to training at the Queens Park Oval on Monday afternoon while Anthony Rougier who returned to England last week will also return to training on the same day. The other overseas pros like Marvin Andrews, Shaka Hislop and Carlos Edwards will also arrive later in the week. Crewe Alexandra goalie Clayton Ince is already in training.
Following another stiff workout with the players on Saturday, head coach Bertille St Clair didnt seem too bothered with not having Jones as early as he would have liked.
We are bringing him and the other players from abroad with the hope that they can mesh well with the local pros. And we are also hoping that players who are playing well like Jones can bring some added value to the team. You cannot always say that the player should make the team because hes local or because hes playing far away he shouldnt be called back. The fact is that once any player passes the grade in local football, he will move on to play in a foreign league which is exactly the case with the young boy (Jones) now, St Clair told TTFF Media.
Its important too that all the players understand this and can give us the best blend for the matches.
St Clair isnt worried about a possible selection headache with the likes of Leslie Fitzpatrick, Anton Pierre,
Marlon Rojas, Keyeno Thomas, Scott Sealy, Nigel Pierre, Gary Glasgow, Derek King, Denzil Theobald and Michael Celestine all trying to be at their sharpest. Added to that, Dallas FC striker Cornell Glen is raring to go as T&T looks forward to Tuesdays warm up against Haiti at the Oval from 3:30pm.
This sort of competition is good for the team. And going into the friendly against Haiti at this stage will give us an indication of how well we are shaping and I will not expect anything other than a solid performance this week, he added.
There was good news on Sancho as he returned from a knee injury and played 90 minutes in Dundees 2-2 draw with Dundee United for which local striker Jason Scotland was an 88th minute substitute. And Edwards fought off a hand injury to play all of 90 minutes in Wrexhams 0-0 draw with Doncaster on Saturday. Stern John got 80 minutes play time as Coventry sunk 3-1 to Newcastle United in the FA while Andrews got full action in Rangers 3-0 win over his ex-club Livingston FC.
Meantime, Rojas will now join the list of overseas pros as he signed a contract with new American MLS side Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Having been snapped up by coach John Ellinger, Real general manager Steve Pastorino announced Thursday that Rojas has signed and the chances are that he will be on the field when the team kicks off for the first time against the NY/NJ MetroStars on April 2.
"Rojas is another example of the network that John has among other coaches," Pastorino said. "He is a player that has been overlooked by the other MLS teams." Among Rojas teammates at Real will be United States forward Clint Mathis and Jason Kreis, as well as Jamaican striker Andy Williams.