Pompey turn to a keeper in form

Pompey will be recalling an in-form keeper in the shape of Paul Jones.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 7:31 am
Paul Jones in action for Crawley. Picture: Jack Beard

Paul Cook is set to bring back Jones from his loan spell at Crawley ahead of the Easter fixtures against Notts County and AFC Wimbledon.

That’s after Ryan Fulton was called up for the Scotland under-21 squad for Euro 2017 qualifiers against France and Northern Ireland.

Jones has impressed in his spell in Sussex with the Red Devils after a difficult campaign at Fratton Park

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The 29-year-old has made eight appearances for Mark Yates’ side after rejoining the club he left for Pompey in 2014.

Jones kept a shut out in his first game against Stevenage and a 2-0 win against Newport County at the start of the month.

That has been followed by a further two clean sheets on the bounce at Luton and in a 0-0 draw with Hartlepool on Saturday.

Jones earned plaudits for preserving a share of the spoils with some important stops against the Pools.

Brighton Argus sports editor Howard Griggs saw the Blues keeper shine in the clash.

He feels Jones has been an important factor in the defensive strength shown by Crawley.

Jones said: ‘On Saturday, he made some good saves in a pretty drab game.

‘He did make some decent stops.

‘One particular save from Hartlepool’s best player, Nathan Thomas, stood out. He tipped it on to the bar.

‘He also kept out a free-kick from Brad Walker at the end. Two decent saves.

‘There was a game at Accrington where he made a bit of a boob to let Accrington back into the game.

‘He ended up parrying a shot when he could have held it. That made it 1-1 and they got back into the game.

‘His form, though, has been pretty decent.

‘Losing him could be a problem because Crawley’s only other keep is a rookie.

‘Beyond that, there isn’t a keeper on the books so it would mean 46-year-old coach Andy Little going on the bench.

‘So it’s going to cause Crawley a problem with the loan window closing on Thursday.

‘Crawley have been solid at the back and Paul’s been a big part of that.’

Pompey haven’t totally discounted the idea of Fulton, 19, not taking part in the international fixtures.

But Cook accepts they are in the hands of parent club Liverpool, who ultimately will make the decision on what’s best for the keeper.

Pompey have a 24-hour recall option on Jones after he extended his Crawley stay for another month.

Brian Murphy is still not training after picking up a calf injury.

Murphy hasn’t featured since suffering from concussion in the FA Cup win over Ipswich in January.

Pompey’s only other option is highly-regarded Academy youngster Alex Bass.

Bass has been named on the bench for much of the season.