Pompey keeper targets extending appearance record

John Dugmore ANL-140618-093732001
John Dugmore ANL-140618-093732001
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Paul Jones is targeting maintaining his remarkable appearance record and extending a run of 121 consecutive games.

Since February 18, 2012, the goalkeeper has not missed a first-team match in all competitions.

His unbroken spell started at Peterborough continued at Crawley for two years and now the 27-year-old finds himself at Pompey.

Andy Awford has challenged new recruit Jones to establish himself as the Blues’ number one when the players return for pre-season next week.

Having spent the last two years and four months being an ever-present at various clubs, the Maidstone-born stopper is used to successfully fighting off competition.

And he is determined to rise to the contest at Pompey.

‘I played every minute of every game for Crawley over the last two seasons and am on 121 consecutive appearances now,’ said Jones.

‘Before that, at the back end of the 2011-12 campaign when I was at Peterborough, I played the last 16 games.

‘It’s not bad going and I want to continue that here at Portsmouth.

‘It’s rare for a keeper because you either play or you don’t.

‘It’s not like an outfield player where you can come on for 30 minutes at the end of a game. You either start or not.

‘As a player you always get niggles. I’ve had semi-serious ones at Exeter but since then not had any problems whatsoever.

‘That comes down to me looking after myself and listening to physios and other backroom staff. I always believe that is very important.

‘I am very proud of my record so far and obviously want to keep going as long as I can. One day it will come to an end, I accept that, but not now.

‘I have managed to get it this far and have no intention of coming here and letting it slip.’

A 3-0 home success for Peterborough over Bristol City in the Championship started it all off, 851 days ago.

On the same February 2012 weekend, Michael Appleton’s Pompey lost 2-0 at Barnsley, having entered administration the previous day. Jones had previously been kept out of the Posh side for 12 matches by former England under-21 keeper Joe Lewis – before regaining his place.

He played the final 16 matches that term, making it 37 in total during the campaign, before turning down the offer of a new deal that summer.

The former Exeter keeper then made the move to Crawley, racking up 105 appearances during two seasons, featuring in every single minute.

And he is banking on being in the Pompey starting line-up when the season kicks off on Saturday, August 9.

‘I played regularly in my final year at Peterborough and they wanted me to stay and offered me a new deal,’ added Jones.

‘It was not right for me, though, and was probably time for me to move again.

‘Being from the Maidstone area, where I was brought up and having not been at home since the age of 18, I got a transfer to Crawley to move back a bit closer.

‘I then played every game for them over two seasons to keep up my record before coming here, which is an exciting move for me.

‘I’m ambitious and want to achieve things at this football club – and one of those aims is to establish myself as a first-team regular.’