Pompey recruit backed to make superb impact

New Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones Picture: Sarah Standing
New Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones Picture: Sarah Standing
Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler

Five questions Pompey fans will want answered

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Paul Jones has been lauded as a ‘great’ signing for Pompey.

But John Sullivan has urged Andy Awford to make an early decision over who will be his number one.

Jones and Michael Poke will fight it out for a first-team spot in the season ahead following a squad overhaul.

With Trevor Carson, Phil Smith and Sullivan departing in the summer, Awford has revamped his goalkeeping options.

Jones, who has played 121 consecutive games for Peterborough and Crawley, will have to cope with the challenge posed by former Torquay stopper Poke.

The outcome remains to be seen but Sullivan highly regards Jones’ ability.

‘Paul is a great goalkeeper, I have seen him play on numerous occasions, I have got friends who have played with him before, he is very rarely injured, plays a lot of games and is very, very competitive,’ said Sullivan.

‘He is going to be a good signing for this club.

‘I don’t know much about Michael Poke. Obviously, I have played against him and seen him play but that is about it.

‘I know more about Paul Jones and think he will be a great recruit for this club.

‘I just urge the fans to get behind him because this club have had some fantastic goalkeepers in its time and he could be another one.

‘It benefits everyone having a good keeper because they can win you seasons, although they can lose you seasons. Unfortunately, Trev (Carson) didn’t sign and that surprised me – he would have been a good signing.

‘I understand why the club got rid of me and Phil (Smith) because, probably, we had gone stale and Phil will probably admit that as well. But for me, Trev could have been here and got the club promoted.

‘But Awfs (Andy Awford) is a very wise man, knows his football and has brought in Paul and Michael who are both good goalkeepers, and the club can move on now.’

Jones and Poke have the opportunity to stake their claims during the Blues’ pre-season.

But Sullivan, who last summer battled with Smith for a spot before both were replaced by Carson, believes a decision needs to be made early.

He added: ‘I think two or three games before the season the goalkeeper needs to be right.

‘You need to say “you are my number one, I am backing you, you are going to have a run in my team, give it a go. If you don’t take your take chance then we will give someone else a chance”.

‘Don’t just give them one, two or three games.

‘I am not going to tell Awfs how to do his job – I would never do that and he is a very sensible guy. But if I was the manager I would decide early in pre-season.

‘Also, it can be unsettling for the goalkeepers. You want to know where you stand in any life.’