Matt Doughty’s bid to steer Altrincham away from relegation trouble has been given a major boost after Southport agreed to extend influential midfielder Gary Jones’s loan until the end of the season.

The former Bradford City captain has made a positive impact on Alty’s fortunes, driving the team on from central midfield, but was due to Gary Jonesreturn to Southport in the next few days after arriving at The J.Davidson Stadium on an initial one-month deal on December 9.

Just 24 hours after having his own managerial agreement extended, however, Doughty has succeeded in securing Jones’s services for the remainder of the campaign.

While there was jubilation in the Alty camp at Southport sanctioning the season-long move, there was never any doubt Jones himself would readily go along with it.

Speaking after the Boxing Day home game with FC United of Manchester, he made it clear he was fully committed to the Alty cause and wanted to stay for the rest of the battle for Vanarama National League North safety.

Doughty, who was confirmed yesterday as manager for the rest of the season, with Robbie Lawton and Graham Heathcote continuing to assist him, was full of praise for the Birkenhead-born midfielder after the New Year’s Day 1-1 draw at FC United.

‘He took a whack in the second half and will have a couple of scars to show for it, because there was some bleeding through the ankle,’ he said. ‘But you know with Jonah that’s not going to stop him. He had to carry on for the rest of the game, and he did, and he’ll be fine for the weekend. I thought he was immense. For a 39-year old bloke, he’s fantastic.'”

Image: Reuters Media (Action Images)

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