Cook: Paul Jones still has Pompey future

Paul Jones had to watch the 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge from the bench Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Jones had to watch the 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge from the bench Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Brian Murphy gets the nod for only his second start since December 2010
  • Exclusion marked the end of 173 successive appearances for Paul Jones
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Paul Cook insists Paul Jones still has a Pompey future, despite his shock omission.

The Blues’ only ever-present last season in 52 matches made way for Brian Murphy in Saturday’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge.

New-boy Brian Murphy was given the nod to start in goal Picture: Joe Pepler

New-boy Brian Murphy was given the nod to start in goal Picture: Joe Pepler

On Friday, Murphy signed a deal until January – and was elevated straight into the side for the League Two opener.

The 32-year-old subsequently kept a clean sheet as Cook’s men produced an impressive 3-0 victory.

As for Jones, he moved to the bench, bringing an end to 173 successive career appearances amassed during spells at Peterborough and Crawley, as well as Fratton Park.

And Cook explained his decision for dropping last season’s undisputed number one.

Brian arriving is more about my knowledge of him playing in Ireland, he has had a few years without playing games and I think he may be rusty but I do believe there is a top keeper in there

Paul Cook

‘I like competition for places. Paul Jones has a future at the club while he is at the club, like everybody else,’ said the manager.

‘I just think sometimes everyone needs to be challenged, Paul needs to be challenged, I need to be challenged as manager of the club, everyone should.

‘Paul will get other opportunities but Brian has signed and come in and that is what I want, I want competition for players. I also want people behind each other.

‘Brian arriving is more about my knowledge of him playing in Ireland. He has had a few years without playing games and I think he may be rusty, but I do believe there is a top keeper in there.

‘I believe Paul Jones is a top keeper as well. I do think we have two top keepers at the club at the minute and I like them both.

‘How did he take the news? How did Ben Close take the news about not being on the bench? You have got to ask about everyone if you are going to ask that question.’

It was Murphy’s first Football League start since representing QPR in March 2014.

That occasion ended in a 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday – his only full appearance during four years at Loftus Road.

The keeper has played just 31 times since arriving at Ipswich from Irish side Bohemians in January 2010.

However, now he has the opportunity to stake a claim for regular first-team football following Saturday’s outing.

Murphy played only one pre-season fixture for Pompey, appearing at Woking and relegating Jones to the bench.

A stomach upset kept him out of the subsequent trip to Gillingham, while Alex Bass took over duties for a Pompey XI’s trip to Burnham last Tuesday night.

Next up for the Blues is the visit of Derby County in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

Cook wouldn’t rule out the deposed Jones being given a run-out in the televised Fratton Park fixture.

He added: ‘There is a game on Wednesday night, Jones might play. It’s as simple as that.

‘Lads will get an opportunity under me, but the most important thing is our club and our ethic of togetherness.

‘I physically can’t keep every player at the club happy, it’s impossible. What I must do is try to keep our supporters happy.

‘Brian looked a bit scratchy at times on Saturday, if truth be known, but that comes with playing games.’