Nathan Jones: 'Fair play' to Stoke City owners for backing boss, says Joe Allen

Saturday's victory at home to Fulham was the first time Stoke have won back-to-back league matches in over a year
Saturday's home victory over Fulham meant Stoke's first back-to-back league wins in over a year

Stoke City's Joe Allen has praised the club's owners for standing by manager Nathan Jones at a time of crisis.

Jones was reportedly close to being sacked a couple of weeks ago because of Stoke's record of just three wins in 30 league games under the ex-Luton boss.

But he has since guided the Potters to two straight victories to lift them off the bottom of the Championship table.

"Fair play to the owners for sticking with him," Wales international midfielder Allen told BBC Stoke.

"Other clubs might have made a different decision. But they've got their just rewards in the last couple of games."

How Nathan Jones bought himself more time

Things looked grim for Allen's fellow Welshman Jones, who has been in charge since leaving Luton to succeed the sacked Gary Rowett in January, when Stoke lost at home to Huddersfield Town on 2 October.

Already bottom, defeat by the team immediately above them, left them three points adrift - and even Jones himself admitted to BBC Radio Stoke that he had been unable "to arrest the downward spiral".

He said then that Stoke's owners, the Coates family, had stuck by him "unbelievably" and that he was sorry he had been "unable to repay them".

Jones even joked that his own mum thought his time must be up - and there were widespread media reports linking Chris Hughton with the job.

Stoke's owners reacted to supporter unrest nine months ago by pulling the plug on Rowett when the club were 14th in the table - and only eight points off a play-off place.

The recollection of that, coupled with their faith that they have the right man in charge, seemed to buy Jones a bit more time.

Saturday's 2-0 win over Fulham was Joe Allen's 125th league start for the Potters since being signed from Liverpool in July 2016
Saturday's 2-0 win over Fulham was Joe Allen's 125th league start for the Potters since being signed from Liverpool in July 2016

Substitute Scott Hogan's 90th-minute winner at then leaders Swansea City the following Saturday now looks to have proved the start of an upturn in fortune.

It was the first result-altering goal scored by Stoke in the 90th minute or later in almost four years, since Marko Arnautovic's injury-time penalty in a 4-3 win at Everton in December 2015.

And the Potters again showed that their luck might have changed for the better when, after a long-running series of misses, they even scored from the penalty spot in Saturday's 2-0 win at home to promotion-chasing Fulham.

"These couple of wins have been coming," said former Swansea and Liverpool player Allen. "They've just come later than we wanted.

"From the players' point of view, we've still been out there giving 100 per cent for him and the club."

Stoke, who are now one place off the bottom and within two points of safety, now face successive away tests.

They visit Garry Monk's Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, followed by Saturday's trip to Millwall, now made surely more complicated by the appointment on Monday evening of Rowett as the Lions' new manager.

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