By Ben Baker
ALEX Jones is Port Vale’s top goalscorer this season, so it was no surprise to see him bag another at Vale Park last weekend.
However, last Saturday’s effort was Jones’ first in a Bradford City shirt, although the striker still hopes the Valiants can survive the drop this season.
Jones enjoyed a six-month loan spell with Vale from Championship side Birmingham City to start this campaign, scoring ten goals in all competitions – four more than closest challenger Remie Streete heading into this weekend.
But just as it appeared he would make the move permanent in January, personal terms could not be agreed and the 22-year-old was snapped up by Bradford for an undisclosed fee on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
Jones’ time in Yorkshire got off to a bumpy start as he struggled with a knee injury, but in his fifth Bantams outing he finally got himself on the scoresheet.
That goal proved to be the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Port Vale last Saturday and even though he celebrated the landmark, Jones insists he only wishes good things for his struggling former club this season.
“It’s been a bit ofa frustrating time for me over the last few months,” Jones said. “The last few games of my loan at Port Vale I wasn’t playing as I was ill and then I came to Bradford, didn’t score and then was injured for five weeks.
“It was a little annoying really so I was really pleased to score my first goal and I want to build on that now.
“I have said all along that Port Vale gave me a lifeline. They believed in me so I will always be grateful to them. If it wasn’t for them then I wouldn’t be where I am now.
“I celebrated my goal but I was always going to celebrate my goal. It was my first for Bradford, it was a big goal and I was getting a bit of stick from the fans so I thought I would definitely celebrate.
“But I hold Port Vale in high regard and hopefully they can stay up. They have had a bit of a turbulent season but hopefully now Browny (Michael Brown) is in charge they can start picking up the points and survive this season.”
Port Vale could do with Jones’ goals as they bid to escape the drop zone, but the frontman now has a different challenge on his hands as he bids to get Bradford back into the Championship.
The victory at Vale Park snapped a four-game winless league run for the Bantams as they headed into yesterday’s action lying fifth in League One.
And Jones is relishing being in the thick of the action after unsuccessful spells with West Brom and Birmingham.
“When I was with West Brom and Birmingham I never really got an opportunity, for whatever reason,” he added.
“The last two or three years when I was 19 to 21 were the most frustrating in my career so it’s great to now be at Bradford and I really want to make the most of it.
“Bradford’s attendances are sometimes more than some Championship clubs get and the atmosphere in front of 20,000 people is amazing. When we go away, the travelling support we get is incredible. It wasn’t that long ago that the club were in the Premier League so everyone wants to help Bradford get back there.
“The first step is obviously promotion and we are right in the mix. We believe we can beat anyone on our day.
“We have to keep pressing and give our fans something to celebrate come the end of the season.”
*This article originally featured in The FLP’s 5 March 2017 edition.