Sheffield Wednesday: Owls ace happy to bide time over new deal

Chris Kirkland's contract expires at the end of the season.
Chris Kirkland's contract expires at the end of the season.
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Influential goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is ready to play a waiting game as he looks to earn a new contract at Sheffield Wednesday.

Kirkland, who starred between the sticks in the Owls’ 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek, is one of 12 senior players whose deals expire at Hillsborough come the end of the season.

Although Caolan Lavery and Liam Palmer have recently agreed new contracts, Wednesday head coach Stuart Gray wants Championship survival to be mathematically secured before the club consider offering fresh terms to other members of his first-team squad.

Kirkland, fit again following a calf problem, understands Wednesday’s situation and is in no hurry to get his long-term future sorted out.

“When the time’s right I’m sure the club will sit down and decide who they want to keep and we’ll move from there,” said the 32-year-old. “But the most important thing is the team and making sure we are secure. It’s about what is best for the club, and that’s the way it should be.

“There are five weeks to go after Saturday so I’m sure we’ll sit down soon.”

Kirkland is keen to remain with Gray’s side.

He admitted: “I’d love to stay. It’s been magnificent since I’ve been here. The fans have been brilliant; all the coaching staff have been superb. I’ve got a great goalkeeping coach in Andy Rhodes.”

But Kirkland stressed: “It’s not about individual players; it’s about the club. It’s not just me; there are a few out of contract.

“I’ll do whatever the clubs wants to do. Whatever they see fit, I’ll go along with that.”

Leon Best, on loan from Blackburn Rovers, struck an injury-time winner against Brighton to clinch the Owls’ fourth successive home success. It was the forward’s fourth goal in nine starts.

“It has taken Leon a while to get his fitness,” said Kirkland. “Let’s not forget he had a serious injury when he was at Blackburn at the start of the season. I’ve been there myself with a knee injury.

“It takes time to come back and feel confident to put a shift in like he has done in the last couple of games, He’s been brilliant.”

Kirkland said Best did not need lifting, although he missed a glorious first-half opportunity at Doncaster.

“I’ve seen worse misses than that,” he added.