Craig Hignett labelled Rob Jones’s first performance in a Hartlepool United strip “as good a debut as you will see”.
Jones was unbeatable on his Pools bow on Saturday at Barnet.
The 36-year-old had been training with the League Two squad at Maiden Castle over the past fortnight following his release by Doncaster Rovers after three and a half years at the Keepmoat Stadium.
But after Pools succumbed 4-1 at Bristol Rovers in midweek, Hignett offered the 6ft 7in centre-half a short-term contract at Victoria Park.
And not only that, he installed him straight in the starting XI for the tough trip to Barnet, where he was up against the Bees top scorer John Akinde.
“I think you could see what Rob Jones brings to us,” said Hignett.
“He’s a head on a stick.
“Rob’s a fantastic professional, an organiser and leader and that’s as good a debut as you will see.”
Jones played alongside Matthew Bates, who had recovered from a back injury which ruled him out of the defeat at Bristol at the last minute.
Adam Jackson was ruled out with a thigh problem though had he been fit, he would have started.
“Rob had to play – Akinde is a handful, hes’s their big man up front,” said Hignett.
“I wanted a physical presence and Rob is just that.
“I think Jacko and Rob would probably have been the centre-half pairing had Jacko not been injured.
“I think after the problem Batesy had with his back I think I’d have rested him and made sure he was fully recovered.
“I’d made my mind up to play Rob quite early.
“Akinde is a handful for a defence but he wasn’t on Saturday.
“Batesy and Rob knew how to deal with him – they have played the game for that long .
“I have to say that they looked really solid.”