Gregory backs his keeper to do a Joe Hart - and come bouncing back

Paul Jones has had a tough time recently. Pic by James Boardman

Paul Jones has had a tough time recently. Pic by James Boardman

First published in Sport by

Crawley boss John Gregory has vowed to stick with goalkeeper Paul Jones despite his recent blunders.

Jones was at fault for the only goal of the game at Brentford on Tuesday and was also to blame for Port Vale’s winner 11 days ago.

The former Peterborough No.1 has not missed a single game since joining Reds in May 2012 and will keep his place for what will be his 99th consecutive match at MK Dons today with rookie Jonny Maddison, who has yet to make a first team appearance at any level, the only viable alternative.

Gregory said: “If a striker misses three of four opportunities nobody mentions it but a goalkeeper can make one mistake and he is immediately the bad guy. That is the nature of the position unfortunately but Paul is my goalkeeper and I will continue to back him.

“David James and Mark Bosnich both made mistakes (when Gregory was manager at Aston Villa) and even Joe Hart came under increasing pressure for conceding some sloppy goals at the start of this season.

“It comes with the territory but the important thing is that you have to respond.

“Joe Hart had to stand up and be counted and I am confident Paul will do the same.”

Gregory is hopeful Andy Drury will return from the bug which has ruled him out of the last two games meaning he will have a full squad to choose from today as Reds bid to end a run of six consecutive defeats.

MK Dons (4-3-3, possible): Martin; Lewington, Spence, Kay, Alli; Powell, Baldock, Smith; Kennedy, Loveridge, Bowditch. Subs from: Galloway, Burns, McLeod, Rasulo, Randall, Hall, Odelusi, Reeves.

Crawley (4-4-2, possible): P Jones; M Connolly, McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; Simpson, Dicker, Drury, M Jones; Proctor, Tubbs. Subs: Maddison, P Connolly, Torres, Bulman, Edwards, Monakana, Fallon.


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