By Shaun Fuentes
Trinidad and Tobago striker Kenwyne Jones admits that Stoke City will be the underdogs in next Saturday’s FA Cup Final against Manchester City but warns that the less favoured team will be pumped for the encounter and shall not be taken lightly.
Jones will become only the third Trinidadian to appear in an English FA Cup Final. Dwight Yorke was the first to do so, in the 1999 Final for Manchester United in their 2-0 win over Newcastle United, coming on in the 60th minute for Andy Cole. Then there was goalkeeper Shaka Hislop for West Ham United in their loss to Liverpool in May of 2006. Steven Gerrard scored a 91st minute equalizer for Liverpool to make it 3-3 forcing the game into extra time and penalty kicks. Hislop saved a penalty but the “Hammers” still lost 3-1. Bobby Zamora who is eligible to play for T&T was also in that West Ham squad.
“I am very happy to reach the FA Cup Final as it’s every footballer’s dream to play in one and also to walk out onto the pitch at Wembley, Being the third Trinidadian to do so is also another fantastic feat that I’m looking forward to an d I’m very happy to b held in very high esteem as my two fellow countrymen,” Jones added.
He expects Stoke to approach the game in the same manner they did in their 5-0 thumping of Bolton Wanderers.
“Well just like it was for the semi final we’re probably already written off but as it’s gone many times this season there can be upsets. Manchester City are expected to win because of their massive resources but we will approach the game with a lot of belief and focus and hopefully we can pull this one off,” Jones added.
The only other Trinidadians to appear in an FA Cup Final in the United Kingdom was Jerren Nixon when he appeared in the 86th minute of Dundee’s 1-0 win over Glasgow Rangers while Jason Scotland and Collin Samuel both appeared for Dundee United in the final when they lost 1-0 to Celtic in 2005.
Jones was a pleased man after notching his eleventh goal of the season to lift Stoke City to ninth spot on the Premiership standings with their 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“I’m very pleased that the goals are coming back at the moment. My confidence is high at the moment and I’m working on making the most of it. The win was a good one for us and hopefully we can maintain this kind of form for the remainder of the season. It feels great to be on this run at the moment,” Jones said on Tuesday. This is the second time Jones has hit double figures in the Premiership, scoring 12 goals for Sunderland in 2008/2009. He netted 16 times for Southampton in the English Championship Division in 2006/2007. The records show that the 26-year-old has netted 70 goals in 238 matches in Association Football in England since he arrived on the scene in the 2004/2005 season at Southampton.