Thu, May

Seven-goal hit-man Kenwyne Jones lines up for Saints Reserves tonight at Staplewood having returned from his prolific loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international could spearhead the second string as they line up against Charlton, kick-off is at 7.00pm and admission is free but all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Darren Kenton and Jelle Van Damme both return to action following minor surgery while Fabrice Fernandes is given a run-out for match practice after shaking off a hamstring injury. Matthew Oakley is given another match on the come-back trail in a strong line-up which also includes Mikael Nilsson, Chris Baird and Jo Tessem.

But most fans will be eager to see Kenwyne Jones who is aiming to build on a successful loan spell which saw him average a goal a game in South Yorkshire.

With Harry Redknapp watching from the sidelines, a good performance could even put Jones in contention for a place in the first team squad against Liverpool following the injury sustained by skipper Kevin Phillips on Saturday. And although the pacy frontman insisted that he is still just focusing on improving as a player, he may give Redknapp a welcome selection headache.

Looking back on his time at Hillsborough, Jones beamed: “I didn’t go there with any expectations so the way things worked out was all I could have asked for really. It was a pretty good time for me up there and a great experience and right now I am willing to take on just about anything.

“I think I always had goals in me, no matter where I was playing. I had always scored when I played back in Trinidad but since I had come to England I hadn’t scored as often as I would have liked.

“Just before I went away though I scored my first for the reserves and I think that helped me settle down and get a bit of confidence. That was a bit of a milestone for me really and going to Sheffield helped me to build on that so I think I will always remember my time there fondly because I made my league debut and scored my first league goal in England.”

Jones clearly caught the attention as he became something of a cult figure among Wednesday’s fans and Saints reportedly turned a bid down from former boss Paul Sturrock to acquire his services on a permanent basis.

He insisted that he is set on building a career with the Saints however as he continued: “I heard about all the speculation and stuff while I was up there but I didn’t really know if there was any truth in it.

“It is flattering when you hear that sort of thing but you have to stay focused and my heart is definitely with the Saints right now. I’d like to be part of helping them to stay up this season but from a personal level you can use that sort of thing to help push you forwards because when people are talking about you I think it means that you are doing something right.

“Hopefully Sheffield was a big step towards the first team for me and kept me in the managers thoughts. I have just got to keep working now and make sure that when my chance does come along I am ready to take it.

“Before the end of the season I’d like to make my debut and hopefully set myself up for next season.

“I think all the first team needs at the moment is a couple of good performances and a couple wins and that will give us something to build on. I am sure that would get things going again.”

Saints Res: Michael Poke, Mikael Nilsson, Jelle Van Damme, Alaeddine Yahia, Matthew Mills, Darren Kenton, Chris Baird, Jo Tessem, Kenwyne Jones, Matthew Oakley, Fabrice Fernandes. Subs: Andrew Surman, Andrew McNeil, Simon Gillett, Chris MacDonald, Sebastian Wallis-Tayler.