Nathan Jones Cardiff

Welsh manager Nathan Jones. Pic: Getty Images

Nathan Jones And The Cardiff City Job That Tugs On His Heart

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By Paul Jones

Sol Bamba and Nathan Jones are the current favourites to become the next Cardiff City manager.

Bamba – a massive hero to Bluebirds fans, but a management novice – is even reported in some quarters to have already been offered the job.

Jones, who hails from the Rhondda, was the early hot contender for the job as soon as the club announced on Tuesday that they had parted company with Sabri Lamouchi.

The Frenchman kept Cardiff in the Championship by the skin of their teeth, but trigger-happy owner Vincent Tan clearly feels another change is now in order.

Lamouchi was Cardiff’s third manager of a season which saw the club lurch from Steve Morison to Mark Hudson and then former Nottingham Forest boss Lamouchi.

With former Cardiff defender Bamba as his assistant, Lamouchi won six matches, which was just enough to keep the club from dropping into League One, but only because Reading had six points deducted as a punishment for breaking rules over finance.

Jones was sacked by Southampton in February after just three months in charge of a disastrous spell, but his record at Luton Town was very impressive.

He took the Hatters from League Two to League One and laid the basis for them to go up the Championship before he left for a spell in charge of Stoke City in 2019.

That job only lasted 12 months before he returned to Luton for a second highly successful spell, before his elevation to the Premier League.

Only a year ago, he was asked about one day managing Cardiff when he took Luton to the Cardiff City Stadium and said: “I grew up in the Rhondda Valley where all my mates were Cardiff fans.

“I had the chance to sign for Bristol City or Cardiff City and I signed for Cardiff City.

“I worked in the turnstiles when I was an apprentice and then rushed and watched all the games. All my mates came down and then we would all go back and chat about the games. I love Cardiff City.

“In the Rhondda it’s either Cardiff or Swansea. But there’s probably more Cardiff fans in the Rhondda Valley than Swansea.

“I want to see Welsh football do well. I played for Merthyr. I want to see Merthyr do well and Newport. It’s better when Wrexham, Newport and Cardiff do well.”

“Eventually, you never know. It’s not something I can sit here now and say, ‘Yeah, it’s something I really want to do’, but, being home in Wales, I love Wales, I am a very proud Welshman, it’s a long way in the future but I would never turn that down.”

There are other Welsh options that are available to Cardiff and Tan.

Former Wales and Bluebirds cult hero Craig Bellamy has just helped guide Burnley back into the Premier League as assistant to manager Vincent Kompany.

But that would require some major bridge building between former academy coach Bellamy and the club who parted company in 2019 after an internal investigation into bullying claims.

Steve Cooper looked as if he might be entering the job market a few weeks ago, but has since turned things around at Nottingham Forest.

And current Luton boss Rob Edwards is another Welshman whose star is rising after leading the Hatters to Wembley for the Championship play-off final.

Former Wales manager Mark Hughes is also enjoying success at Bradford City and is currently involved in the League Two play-offs.

Other familiar Welsh options could include Chris Coleman, Tony Pulis, Glyn Hodges, Tony Pennock, Osian Roberts, James Rowberry and Sam Ricketts.

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