Following on from the news that Norwich have signed Paul Jones from Portsmouth on a free transfer, I spoke to Vital Portsmouth editor, Rug, about the shot-stopper to learn a bit more about him!
Firstly, was his exit from Pompey mutual or did he refuse to sign a new deal?
I don’t think he would have got a new deal, which would have run out at the end of this season I think?
He had to look out for his best interests I guess so with him (probably) not being our no.1 this season anyway, having gone out on loan to former club Crawley last season, his exit most likely was for the best of all concerned and relatively ‘mutual.’
Would you have liked him to stay at the club?
The thought of him and David Forde as our options in goal this season was a good one as it would have been two good experienced goalies (which we’ve not had for a while) challenging each other and allowed us to send out a youngster (Alex Bass) on loan but with Forde, albeit the senior by some six-years or so, was likely to be the no.1 and I’m not sure Jones liked it? Players come and players go but not convinced Paul Cook (our manager) was ever really sold on him either.
He made 17 appearances last season, did he impress?
Injuries, which are becoming more common with him, set him back with him also loaned to Crawley as said with Cookie bringing in Brian Murphy literally before last season started and that was the ‘beginning of the end’ for Jones at Pompey in my mind. We went through no less than five goalies last season, none impressed really, but he was easily the pick of the bunch and certainly impressed above those others.
What are his strengths as a goalkeeper?
Jones is a good shot stopper, obviously a goalie should be but he can be especially good when he has to react quickly. As he’s a big old unit can use this well when faced with a one-on-one.
What are his weaknesses?
As good as his shot stopping is he seems to get beaten from distance quite often, more so than you would want! He also lacks a command of his penalty area for me and for someone with such a physical presence doesn’t use that nearly enough as he doesn’t come for much. A ‘vampire’ if you will…he doesn’t like crosses!
Do you think he could help nurture younger players?
In all honesty it was a ‘wow’ moment when news broke of his leaving Fratton to join Norwich! An exit wasn’t overly surprising in some ways, like I say I’m not sure Cookie ever fancied him as he ‘wasn’t one of his players’, but to leave and join a Championship club wouldn’t have been expected at all. He wasn’t going to be happy warming the bench at Fratton but will (as I’d guess that’s what he’ll do at best at Carrow Road) at Norwich, so that’s odd one in some ways but to join a good Championship club that were in the Premier League last season on a decent wedge isn’t something I begrudge. He’ll help younger players though I’m sure and wish him well. All the best to Norwich this season too.
I would like to say thanks to Rug for speaking to us about the shot-stopper and I wish Pompey the best of luck in their forthcoming season!
If you would like to hear more from him, check out his site Vital Football Portsmouth!