Sheffield Wednesday: Chris throws down the gauntlet

Chris Kirkland wants to help Sheffield Wednesday's young goalkeepers keep progressing. Picture: Steve Ellis.
Chris Kirkland wants to help Sheffield Wednesday's young goalkeepers keep progressing. Picture: Steve Ellis.
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Chris Kirkland has urged Sheffield Wednesday’s young goalkeepers to prove in pre-season they are good enough to compete for a regular first-team place.

Although Stephen Bywater and Nicky Weaver have left Hillsborough this summer, the Championship outfit remain strong in the goalkeeping department.

Dave Jones, the Owls manager, has recently stated he is not searching for an additional shot-stopper as they already possess Kirkland, Adam Davies, who recently signed a new one-year contract with the Owls, Arron Jameson and Cameron Dawson.

Davies, formerly with Everton, Jameson, who turns 24 in November, and England Under-19 international Dawson have made just two appearances between them at senior level. But despite their lack of experience, Kirkland is confident the trio will come good.

The 32-year-old, an ever present in the league last season, told The Star: “They are all extremely good and it is great working with them. Hopefully they can learn things off me. It is up to them to keep on improving. With Stephen (Bywater) going, they have got an opportunity to stake their claims. Andy Rhodes, our goalkeeping coach, will be great for them. They will enjoy the training and it will be good for them to be around the first-team a lot more this year.”

Wednesday, who play Stockport County at Edgeley Park tonight in a testimonial match for former striker Rodger Wylde, wanted to retain Bywater’s services. However, he turned down their two-year contract offer because he fancied “a change of scenery”, opting to move to Millwall.

Kirkland said: “I was gutted and to see Stephen go. It is very hard as a goalkeeper because only one of you can play. We will stay in touch and hopefully he will get in the first-team at Millwall.”