PNE keeper’s looking ahead

North End goalkeeper Jamie Jones
North End goalkeeper Jamie Jones
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New Preston North End goalkeeper Jamie Jones thinks the time was right for a fresh challenge after six years in London with Leyton Orient.

The former Everton trainee will officially become a PNE player on July 1 after agreeing a two-year contract.

Fresh from a holiday in Las Vegas, 25-year-old Jones has started his summer fitness programme in order to be in tip-top shape when he reports to Springfields for pre-season training on July 3.

Like his new team-mates, the shot-stopper will aim to put play-off heartache behind him in the 2014-15 campaign.

While the Lilywhites fell at the semi-final hurdle against Rotherham, Jones reached the final with Orient but was on the wrong end of a penalty shoot-out defeat to the Millers.

Speaking to the Evening Post, Jones said: “This is a new challenge and I cannot wait to get started.

“I got Orient’s play-off defeat out of my system while in Las Vegas and now I am focused on proving myself at Preston.

“This was the right time for me to move after six years at Orient.

“I enjoyed it down there, liked living in Essex, and I learned a lot playing the 180 or so games which I did.

“We had three years up at the top and three years down at the bottom fighting relegation.

“Orient did offer me a contract and we started talking before the play-offs.

“I thought it was in my best interests to wait until after the play-offs to make a decision on my future.

“Things developed from there after the play-offs, Preston came in and it was a no-brainer of a decision to accept the offer.

“Moving back to the north ticked one of the boxes but there were plenty of other things which made my mind up in deciding to join Preston.

“When I spoke to Simon Grayson, the first words which he said to me were, ‘Jamie, we want you here’.

“Being wanted by a manager with his record and status was fantastic.”

Jones was the first summer signing announced by PNE, followed by Calum Woods.

A third new arrival – a young striker – is due imminently, with further business to be done after that.

It will not be a dressing room full of strangers which Jones will be walking into a fortnight tomorrow.

Said Jones: “I know Tom Clarke – he had a loan spell at Orient a couple of seasons ago and his brother Nathan is the skipper there.

“David Buchanan trained with us in pre-season a few years ago, and I recognise a lot of the lads from playing against them.

“I’ve had a chat with my fellow Scouser John Welsh on Twitter, so it will be fine coming in on my first day.”

Meanwhile, tickets for the Deepdale friendlies with Burnley and Leicester go on sale on Monday.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £7.50 for ambassadors, £5 for concessions and £1 for juniors.

Ambassadors need to buy in advance to take advantage of the cheaper price.

Seating in the Sir Tom Finney Stand and Alan Kelly Town End will be unreserved.