PAUL JONES paid tribute to his team-mates and the Fratton faithful after landing Pompey’s player of 2014 runner-up gong at The News Sports Awards.
The Blues goalkeeper – who was beaten to the top prize by team-mate Jed Wallace – has been one of the stand-out performers in an otherwise disappointing 2014-15 season at Fratton Park.
And three consecutive clean sheets have helped to alleviate the pressure on both club and manager Andy Awford as the Blues have opened up a five-point gap between themselves and the League Two drop zone heading into today’s clash with Exeter.
Jones’ steadying influence between the posts was a key factor in those three games without defeat.
Meanwhile, his consistency since his summer arrival from Crawley has earned him much praise from his team-mates and the terraces.
But the Pompey No1 credits the support he has been given for an impressive start to his Fratton Park career.
‘It’s always nice to get recognised as an individual but at the end of the day it’s a team sport,’ said Jones after receiving his News award.
‘We go out there as an 11, plus the subs, manager and staff, so we are in this together – this is for the team as well, not just me.
‘The supporters here are incredible, too. I have never experienced anything like them in my career.
‘Even when the times have been tough this season, they have been there supporting us, which is fantastic.’
For 28-year-old Jones, today’s game against the Grecians promises to be a particularly poignant affair.
He said: ‘Exeter are the club that gave me my chance in professional football.
‘I enjoyed my time there and I am looking forward to play against them.’
The News Sports Awards 2014 Pompey player of the year was sponsored by JSPC Computer Services Ltd.