NEW-BOY David Jones is prepared to ruin a reunion with an old friend to fight his way into the Wigan Athletic side for the new season.
Jones has already set his sights on nailing down a first-team spot after putting pen to paper on a two-year contract at the DW.
The 26-year-old, who left Wolves earlier this summer, showed some nice touches during his second-half cameo at Preston last weekend, and is champing at the bit to be involved in Sunday’s glamour friendly against Villarreal – Wigan’s last hit-out before the new Premier League season gets underway.
Wigan’s fine pre-season record will be put to the test against the La Liga outfit, whose striker Giuseppi Rossi has been linked with mega-money moves to Barcelona and Juventus this summer.
Jones knows all about the talents of Rossi, having come through the ranks at Manchester United together almost a decade ago.
And although he’ll be happy to exchange pleasantries before and after the game, Jones says for 90 minutes the American-born Italian international will be just another opponent.
“I played in the United reserve side with Giuseppi, and it’s going to be fantastic to play against him this weekend,” Jones told the Evening Post.
“He was always a top-quality player even back then, and he’s continued that since he’s left United.
“It didn’t quite happen for him at United, which is the case with a number of players, but he has gone on to Villarreal and done very well for himself.
“There’s obviously been talk this summer of possibly a big transfer, and I’m not surprised because he’s such a talented player.
“In and around the penalty area, he is a deadly finisher and we can’t afford to give him any space on Sunday or the ball will be in the back of the net.
“I haven’t seen him for quite a few years and it would be good to catch up - but once the game starts all I’ll be thinking about is impressing the manager ahead of the new season.”
A decent crowd is expected at the DW for the clash with the ‘Yellow Submarine’, who have once again qualified for this season’s Champions League.
And Jones reckons the Latics players will be giving it everything to play themselves into the team to face Norwich City the following weekend.
“It might be a pre-season friendly but it is a massive game for all of our players to show what they can do,” Jones added.
“It’s the last chance before the start of the season to change the manager’s thoughts on who will be lining up against Norwich.
“The manager has said from day one that places are up for grabs, and that goes for everyone.
“Everyone wants to be starting the season in the first XI and, although I’m a new player, I’ll be going all-out to make sure one of the shirts is mine.”