THE JONES BOY IS SPOT ON FOR U’S

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Luke Baker

AS A goal­keeper, there can be lit­tle bet­ter than sav­ing a penalty to win your team a game, so to do it twice in the space of five days must be a very spe­cial feel­ing in­deed.

And af­ter do­ing ex­actly that, on-loan Colch­ester stop­per Jamie Jones is hope­ful his hero­ics will help him earn a con­tract next year.

Last Tues­day, with the U’s 3-2 up against Sheffield United and with only three min­utes to hold on, Jones dived to his right to keep out Billy Sharp’s penalty ef­fort.

Then, just five days later, he pre­served Colch­ester’s lead over Gilling­ham, once again go­ing to his right to re­pel Cody McDon­ald’s spot-kick.

The 26-year-old is only at the We­ston Homes Com­muni- ty Sta­dium on a tem­po­rary ba­sis – his three-month loan ends in De­cem­ber – but with his con­tract at par­ent club Pre­ston run­ning out at the end of the sea­son, he is al­ready con­sid­er­ing his next move.

Ex­pe­ri­ence

How­ever, for the time be­ing, Jones is rel­ish­ing the fact that he got to ex­pe­ri­ence the feel­ing a striker gets when scor­ing a match-win­ning goal.

“Mak­ing a last-minute save or mak­ing a penalty save to win a game is the equiv­a­lent of scor­ing a goal for me,” he ex­plained.

“I take pride in that and it couldn’t re­ally have been a bet­ter week for us, be­cause the main thing about it is that we picked up six points.

“We knew the wins were go­ing to come sooner or later, just be­cause of the way we’ve been work­ing.

“When I first ar­rived, I could tell what a good side Colch­ester are, but it just wasn’t tick­ing.

“I’m here to play games and keep im­prov­ing and hope­fully I can get another con­tract off the back of it, wher­ever it may be.”

With last week’s hero­ics, Jones has now marked him­self out as some­thing of a penalty-sav­ing spe­cial­ist and he be­lieves that his save five days prior may have been play­ing on Gilling­ham striker McDon­ald’s mind.

But the for­mer Ley­ton Ori­ent man is re­luc­tant to re­veal too many of his tricks.

“I just see how I feel at the time – try to slow them down and maybe try to read where he’s go­ing to go,” added Jones.

“I don’t want to give too much away though, be­cause I know some strik­ers might be read­ing this!

“The Sheffield United penalty save didn’t nec­es­sar­ily give me con­fi­dence, but it prob­a­bly gave Cody McDon­ald a few more nerves.

Frus­trat­ing

“It might have put ex­tra pres­sure on him and I was just try­ing to get in his head and force an er­ror from him.”

Jones made over 150 league ap­pear­ances for Ley­ton Ori­ent in a six-year spell at the club, but turned down a con­tract ex­ten­sion to join Pre­ston in 2014.

How­ever, things quickly turned sour when he was dropped, ap­par­ently with­out ex­pla­na­tion, last Novem­ber and he hasn’t made a com­pet­i­tive ap­pear­ance for the Li­ly­whites since.

Loan moves to Coven­try and Rochdale fol­lowed in the sec­ond half of last sea­son and the Kirkby-born keeper is look­ing to the fu­ture.

“It’s been very frus­trat­ing at Pre­ston. It came out of the blue that I got dropped and I’ve not played in a com­pet­i­tive game since,” he said. “I’m just get­ting games. If Pre­ston want to take me back and put me in the frame for a first-team place then good for me, but I’m on the mar­ket now.

“Con­tract-wise I’m up at the end of the sea­son, so I’m out there fight­ing for a con­tract. If it gets ex­tended at Colch­ester then bril­liant be­cause I’m more than happy.”

PIC­TURE: TGS Photo

TOUGH SPOT: Jamie Jones de­nies Cody McDon­ald with his sec­ond penalty save in un­der a week

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