Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland happy with Owls

Chris Kirkland applauds fans after the season's final game, the 2-0 win against Middlesbrough
Chris Kirkland applauds fans after the season's final game, the 2-0 win against Middlesbrough
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Chris Kirkland has poured cold water on claims that he could leave Hillsborough and return to the Premier League with Hull City.

The former England keeper has told The Star that he is happy with the Owls.

The Star also understands that Wednesday have had no approach from the newly promoted Tigers, and that reports alleging there is a bargain release fee in the player’s contract are wide of the mark.

Kirkland said: “I’m happy where I am. I’m pleased to be here.

“It’s a big club and they have looked after me from day one. The staff and the gaffer have been brilliant and the fans are magnificent.

“I’m delighted with the way things are going, and we’ve stayed up, which is the most important thing.”

Kirkland hopes that the club can make progress next season after coming through their first season back in the Championship.

“The gaffer is very ambitious; hopefully the chairman will back him in what he wants to do.

“Hopefully we can push on next season. We’re not going to say what the targets are; if we can push up the league it will be great.”

Kirkland believes that it was an achievement for the club to retain their Championship status:

“When you’ve got 15 points going into Christmas, things aren’t looking great, but since the turn of the year our form has been top three. Peterborough’s form was top six, but they’ve still gone down; so have Wolves and they were in the Premier League a year ago.”

Kirkland ended a season of personal success by keeping a clean sheet in the final game - the 2-0 win against Middlesbrough that confirmed the club’s safety.

He revealed: “The week leading up to the game was the hardest thing.

“It was very tense. But when Saturday came around, it was an early kick-off, you wake up, have an early dinner, and the game comes quickly.

“The game went well. The lads were great. We managed to get an early lead, and we were quite comfortable; we probably should have been out of sight by half time.

“At the final whistle, it was a great feeling.”

He is looking forward to a summer break but like other players will spent some of it doing a personal fitness programme.

The 32-year-old is grateful to the Owls for giving him a fresh start last summer after he had gone out of the first-team picture at Wigan.

“I’ve loved it here,” he added.

The Owls considered his signing as possibly a gamble in view of his injury history but were confident in their regimes of injury prevention and fitness management.

The keeper said: “The gaffer, the chairman and Paul aldridge (vice-chairman) were great with me.

“I told them how fit I was and how confident I was that I could last the season, and they trusted me.”

*Chris Waddle will be in charge of Sheffield FC in their clash with Frickley in the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA Senior Cup final at Hillsborough tonight. The former Owls great was asked to take charge because the Sheffield management team of Ian Whitehorne and Vill Powell are on holiday.