Keeper has legends in his sights

Paul Jones. Picture: Barry Zee
Paul Jones. Picture: Barry Zee

IT’S 380 minutes without conceding for Paul Jones

And he can draw level with two legendary Pompey keepers with a shut out at Cambridge on Saturday.

Ernie Butler twice went five games on the bounce without shipping a strike in the 1940s and 50s.

And the man they call the Legend, Alan Knight, did the same in 1993.

Now Jones is out to equal their runs in the trip to the Abbey Stadium.

The 28-year-old can also match David James, who went five games without letting in a goal in 2006-07.

Butler’s two sequences came in the 1948-49 and 1951-52 campaigns when he played behind the likes of Jimmy Dickinson and Jimmy Scoular.

Knight’s flying run arrived as part of 11 wins from 12 games in the 1992-93 season as Pompey made the play-offs.

Jones still has a long distance to travel before he matches Jamie Ashdown’s record of 636 post-war league minutes without conceding from the 2010-11 season.

The former Crawley man has been superbly looked after by the players in front of him in recent weeks.

Pompey boss Andy Awford feels the defensive solidity arrives for the team as a whole, rather than a focus on one specific area.

The Blues have still to create a raft of chances at the other end of the pitch.

Awford knows that would be the case, ideally, but he is happy with the progress being made.

He said: ‘All I know is it is four clean sheets now.

‘It has been a great effort by the lads all over the pitch.

‘They have taken on board everything we are trying to do. I am delighted for everybody.

‘The last four clean sheets have given us a foundation and platform to work off.

‘If you keep a clean sheet you only need to score one goal.

‘I would rather us win 3-0 or 4-0, of course I would, but as a unit we look very solid.’

Awford explained he can see the confidence building in his players from the recent upturn in both solidity and results.

He said: ‘Results breed confidence.

‘I am really pleased for the lads because they deserve that for the massive effort they have put in over the last few weeks.

‘We can’t take our foot off the gas now and have got to go again against Cambridge on Saturday.

‘The league is so tight, there isn’t a stand-out team in it.

‘If you are consistent then you start to climb the table.’

– JORDAN CROSS