Paul Jones gets nod to stake Pompey long-term claim

Paul Jones made a good return and is set to keep his place. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Jones made a good return and is set to keep his place. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Jones will today retain his Pompey place for the first time in almost 11 months.

And boss Paul Cook admitted the 29-year-old could remain there for the rest of the season.

All of a sudden now we might have three goalies all available

Paul Cook

The Blues today visit AFC Wimbledon (12.45pm) with Ryan Fulton again missing following his Scotland under-21 call-up.

That ensures Jones will continue in goal following his return in Friday’s 4-0 thumping of Notts County.

Not since the end of last season has the former Crawley stopper lined-up in successive Pompey games.

And for Cook, he potentially may stay in place during the promotion run-in.

He said: ‘One of the problems about our goalkeepers this season has been injuries.

‘Brian Murphy got concussion against Ipswich and then tore his calf. Jonesie has been out with his knee ligament injury, so we have had no consistency.

‘All of a sudden now we might have three goalies all available.

‘Those options are now more to the fore if Jonesie plays well today – the reality is he will probably keep his place.

‘Calling him back from Crawley was an obvious thing for me to do.

‘He had been playing games so was match-fit, we were not getting a rusty goalkeeper coming in.

‘And he got a clean sheet for us against Notts County.

‘In his previous game at Oxford United when he got injured he was outstanding and played well, we could have been out of sight at half-time, the opposite way.

‘They absolutely battered us in the first-half and Jonesie was good.

‘What we must have is a belief in them and to be fair to Jonesie, to Murphs and even to Ryan, we have great belief in them all and what we do want to do is show consistency in them.

‘You cannot chop and change people after every mistake, that is not right.’

Fulton will be available for the weekend visit of Carlisle to put pressure on Jones.

Meanwhile, Cook revealed Murphy could be a week away from returning after his calf problem.

The former QPR keeper made the last of his 22 appearances in January.

Cook added: ‘Murphy got a lot of criticism in general, let’s have it right.

‘There are a lot of fans who blamed Murphy for our goals conceded, but when you look at his clean sheet record he must have been doing something right.

‘Or the other teams weren’t shooting in our games, I don’t know.

‘For me I thought Brian was a terrific goalkeeper for us, has great experience, managed games particularly well and like most keepers made mistakes, they all do.

‘Sometimes people are very quick to bemoan how bad players are rather than focus on what they are actually good at and what they are doing well.’