Awford delight at lack of Jones action

Paul Jones. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Jones. Picture: Joe Pepler

These are quiet times for Paul Jones on the job front.

For the last 290 minutes on pitch he has been forced to take up the role of an interested spectator.

The odd clearance here, the occasional catch there but largely the 28-year-old has been marginalised by his team-mates.

Blame the 3-5-2 system operating in front of him for their influence in chalking up a hat-trick of clean sheets, the most recent at Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night.

Throw in the final 20 minutes without conceding in the defeat to Southend and suddenly the Blues possess a miserly defence.

Jones has been one of the stand-out performers this season, proving an excellent capture by Andy Awford.

But he has been left with little to do of late.

Awford said: ‘I cannot say we have solved any defensive concerns, I don’t want to tempt fate!

‘But in terms of back-to-back games it is probably the quietest Paul Jones has been over a run of three games for us.

‘Sometimes you keep clean sheets and your goalkeeper is man of the match, well Paul hasn’t had a lot to do in those three games.

‘Let’s be honest, I reckon The News have probably given him six out of 10 in every one of those matches.

‘The protection has been fantastic for him and he said to me after the Dagenham game “I will take another three on the spin like that, Gaffer”.

‘It’s great for him, he hasn’t had a lot to do but we know he is there when called upon.

‘This is about our work defensively as a team. I keep stressing that. It’s not just a back three, the team is functioning well defensively.

‘When you keep clean sheets you don’t lose games and we would like to turn the draws into wins as quickly as we can.

‘Earlier in the season we played Peterborough and Northampton using the same system (3-5-2) and were also tight defensively. And I think it has been fine for us.’

Before Wycombe, the Blues had recorded seven clean sheets in their opening 32 fixtures of the season.

Now there have been three in the last three matches.

Goals remain hard to come by, with only three from their last six games highlighting a constant headache.

But at least Awford’s men now have a platform to build on with the weekend visit of Exeter City next up.

He added: ‘We haven’t looked like conceding and that is credit to the players for taking on board what we needed to do.

‘It has not been dull either. I didn’t find Dagenham a boring game, it was probably quite interesting to watch.

‘There were not too many chances but it was open.

‘That’s two away games in a row we have kept a clean sheet, while were very comfortable at home against Hartlepool and once we got the goal it was never in doubt.

‘It is another massive opportunity to get another three points against Exeter on Saturday and if that happens – and it is a big if – that is eight points out of 12.

‘I think we would all be happy with it.’