Jordan Jones: Kilmarnock 'exiles' forge festive spirit away from families

Kilmarnock midfielder Jordan Jones poses with a Christmas decoration
Jones is in festive mood despite being away from his family over Christmas

Jordan Jones thinks the united nations of Kilmarnock will help create a sense of togetherness during a hectic festive period away from their families.

Manager Lee Clark signed 17 players during the summer, 13 from clubs in Redcar-born Jones' English homeland.

The 22-year-old joined Kilmarnock after being released by Middlesbrough, where his girlfriend has remained.

"It's hard being away from your family, but you just have to look to the next game," said the midfielder.

"It's been easier with everyone in the same boat. There are not many lads who were here last year."

Several players live in the same apartment building close to Rugby Park, with Jones sharing with Jonathan Burn, the defender on loan from Middlesbrough but presently sidelined through injury.

Kilmarnock have three more outings in a seven-game run of fixtures during December - against St Johnstone on Friday, Hearts on 27 December and Partick Thistle on New Year's Eve - before Jones can experience for the first time a January winter break.

The Premiership sides do not return to action until the Scottish Cup fourth round on 21 January.

"We have had no time to get home because of all the games, but you have to live with it and it's not the worst job in the world at the end of the day," said Jones, who has made 21 appearances so far.

"We're always dead close to each another and we all just chill out together.

"I was sharing an apartment with Jonny Burn, but he's gone back to Boro and I'm by myself.

"I am looking forward to the rest and spending some time with my family, but I'm just concentrating on the football."

Kilmarnock midfielder Jordan Jones in action against Dundee last month
Jones is benefitting from regular first-team football after establishing himself in recent months

Jones, who failed to make a first-team appearance with Boro, had loan spells with Hartlepool United and Cambridge United before joining Kilmarnock and is delighted to be featuring regularly in the starting line-up.

"At the start, I was in and out of the team, but I've been in now for about 10 games, so I am really enjoying playing every week," he said.

"It is a lot easier to settle when you are playing all the time because you are focused on the next game.

"I needed first-team football. I am 22 now, so that's the best thing and I am getting it."

Jones believes that working under Clark has improved him as a footballer already.

"Off the ball, the gaffer has helped me massively," he explained. "I think, before, I just never used to concentrate off the ball.

"Saturday, I didn't have my best game on the ball, but I worked really hard off it. That is where I have improved in the last few months."

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