PAUL COOK is desperate for the fear factor to return in his goalkeeper battle.
The Pompey boss paid tribute to Paul Jones as he began his fightback from a potential three months on the sidelines.
If you are in the team you should fear for your place.Paul Cook
Jones is hoping to return before that, after forcing his way back into Cook’s starting XI for last weekend’s game against Oxford, where he picked up a knee ligament injury.
Michael Poke is out for around two months with a shoulder injury, while Brian Murphy is likely to be missing for a couple of weeks with his groin problem.
That leaves Academy youngster Alex Bass as the only back-up for loan arrival Aaron McCarey.
Jones’ injury is a blow for the 29-year-old, with Cook indicating he had forced himself in front of Murphy in the keeping pecking order.
He praised his attitude after being displaced by the Irishman, and is now keen to see Murphy back to step up the battle for the No1 shirt.
Cook said: ‘Paul’s out for three months. We have to deal with it.
‘He was fantastic (after being replaced by Murphy). It’s what you want. We have a strong squad. There’s no personal agendas here.
‘It was logical with Paul. He goes into the team.
‘Wait for the chance and take it. It’s a perfect example of someone waiting for their chance and taking it.
‘The thing nowadays is competition results in people sulking around.
‘Jonesy has been a credit to himself. He’s trained dead hard, worked dead hard and been bright.
‘He’s been brilliant and done everything properly.
‘He’s worked his way back in and done well. That’s the way it should be.
‘It’s the way it is. It’s the way it is for all the lads.
‘If you are in the team you should fear for your place. If you are at a good club you will have good players.
‘You will have to be on your game It doesn’t mean you play well every week but it means you’re at it.’
Cook knew Pompey had to move quickly to land McCarey as his keeper crisis deepened this week.
With the outlook for Poke and Jones expected to be months not weeks, he is open to extending the 23-year-old’s stay beyond a month.
Cook said: ‘We know all the keepers to be fair. There’s a panel you pick from. The lists are there.
‘We’ve got good contacts. Great credit to Wolves for allowing us to let the lad come and play.
‘The club have made the right decision to bring in a proven keeper.
‘He’s trained and was smashing. I’m sure he’ll slot in well. He knows one or two of the lads as well. I’m sure he’ll slot in.
‘Aaron’s an initial month’s loan so watch this space. With the three games in a week we need to have a keeper in.’