Gethin Jones is glad to be back to aid Wanderers’ promotion push after completing his international duty, writes Pete Oliver.
Jones was thrilled to win his first caps for Australia and help them progress in the Asian Cup.
But after the disappointment of a last-gasp quarter-final exit to South Korea, the Whites’ defender is ready to put all his energies into the Whites’ bid to try and secure a top-two place in League One.
“It was an unbelievable experience, first time for me going away internationally at first-team level and for so long as well,” said Jones, who played in the Socceroos’ opening two group wins in the tournament in Qatar.
“It was difficult being away from the lads for so long and keeping track on the games. The time difference was a bit difficult, but I was staying up late to watch the lads play every game.
“It was an incredible experience, although obviously devastating to get knocked out the way we did, but I'm made-up to be back now and focused on the target we've got here now.”
An injury-time equaliser and then subsequent winner in extra-time from South Korea saw Australia exit at the last-eight stage and Jones jump on a plane back to the UK.
The 28-year-old was immediately restored to Wanderers’ starting line-up at Cambridge United for a first club appearance since the end of December and took the captain’s armband in place of the injured Ricardo Almeida Santos.
But after swapping the sun of Qatar for the rain of Cambridge, it proved a false start with a waterlogged pitch forcing the game to be abandoned nine minutes in Wanderers still third in the table with games in hand still to play in all the teams around them in the table.
“I came back at the weekend after 18 hours of travelling to get back,” Jones told Wanderers TV. “The gaffer asked me if I was ready to come in and I was like ‘yes, 100%’.
“I had a good sleep when we came down to Cambridge and I was made-up to be back out there with the lads. It was disappointing not to get the game going in the end but we can go back and concentrate now for Saturday.
“I'm looking forward to the games coming up now. We've been talking for a while that we've got the games in hand. We said before the game that this is one of our games in hand and we have to come down here and put in the performance and get the result.
“We’re devastated we couldn't go ahead with the game although I do think it was the right decision from the referee.”