PAUL JONES has been backed to shake off the rust after making his Pompey return.
Jones got his first pre-season minutes under his belt in the 4-1 friendly win at Bognor last night.
The 30-year-old put his thigh injury behind him with a start at Nyewood Lane.
Jones conceded a disputed goal when dropping the ball from a corner under pressure.
The former Crawley man also made a couple of smart saves in his first outing since the win at AFC Wimbledon in April.
Pompey first-team coach, Ian Foster, explained Jones had limited training going into the game.
But now he’s hopeful he can build momentum as the only senior option at present for Paul Cook’s side.
Foster said: ‘We’re pleased to have him back.
‘He had the PCL rupture against Oxford last season.
‘He came back into the team, worked hard and then picked up a grade two thigh injury.
‘That’s disappointing for Paul but he’s worked hard through the close season, too.
‘Of course he’s going be rusty, it’s his first match minutes, but that will improve.
‘Fair play, though, he’s now back in the group.
‘He’s not had many sessions. He’s done a lot with John Keeley but only trained four our five times.
‘Hopefully now we can have a No1 one who stays fit and healthy for the season.’
Meanwhile, Pompey are running the rule over Dean O’Halloran, with the winger training with the Blues after being released by Fulham.
Amine Linganzi also remains with the club with the midfielder appearing at Bognor.
Foster said: ‘We are always prepared to welcome people into the club.’
– JORDAN CROSS