Pompey recruit eyes League One return

New Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones
New Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones

Paul Jones bid farewell to League One and pledged: I’ll return with Pompey.

The goalkeeper yesterday became Andy Awford’s third recruit of the summer after signing a three-year deal.

Having spent the past two seasons as an ever-present with Crawley, the 27-year-old opted to step down a division to make the Blues switch.

The free agent admitted there was also interest from League One clubs, yet the lure of Fratton Park proved irresistible.

Following two promotions with Exeter and one with Peterborough, Jones clearly has a know-how for climbing out of divisions.

And he’s hoping to take his impressive tally to at least four during his Pompey stay.

‘This is a special club, it does not need to sell itself, it’s hard to turn a club like Portsmouth down,’ said Jones.

‘There was a bit of interest and I spoke to a few other clubs, including some in League One, but dropping down a division doesn’t concern me.

‘I believe that says a lot about this club and I want to be part of what they are aiming to achieve here.

‘I’ve had three promotions and I want to add to that and be successful and get my fourth, fifth and sixth promotion.

‘I am not going to say next season we are going to get promoted because you don’t know what is going to happen.

‘I am an ambitious player, and with the gaffer, the players here and the players he wants, we will have a good chance at getting promoted down the line.

‘That is what I have achieved throughout my career and I want more.

‘I have played in League One and had a taste of Championship football with Peterborough and I want to go back to that level.

‘I met the gaffer, Mark Catlin (chief executive) and Tony Brown (finance director) and it feels right at Portsmouth. Sometimes you get a good feeling about things.’

Having been a trainee at Leyton Orient, Jones got his first-team breakthrough at Exeter in 2005.

He made 201 appearances during his six-year stay, helping the Grecians climb out of non-league football and reach League One.

He then moved to Peterborough, making 41 appearances during his two seasons, and was part of the side which made the Championship in 2011 following a League One play-off success.

During the past two seasons he made 105 appearances under former Blues managers Richie Barker and then John Gregory at Crawley.

And he admits he paid attention to the views of a few former Pompey players before making his latest switch.

He added: ‘Guy (Whittingham) spoke very highly of Portsmouth when he joined Crawley as a coach and I remembered that.

‘Then when the chance came up I spoke to Scott Hiley, who I played with at Exeter, and he told me it was a great club.’