Sheffield Wednesday’s interest in signing Stoke’s England Under 21 goalkeeper Jack Butland on loan raises the prospect of Chris Kirkland’s place coming under serious threat.
Dave Jones’ move for a keeper of Butland’s pedigreee means that he is pressing ahead with his plan to “bring in a number one to push a number one” rather than merely wanting out-and-out cover.
Jones feels that if he gets the right man then the newcomer and Kirkland will “slug it out” for the first-team jersey.
“Chrissy needs to be pushed; we need that competition; it’s healthy. He knows I’m looking around; if that keeps him on his toes, all well and good,” the Owls boss has said..
Butland wants a loan move as Asmir Begovic is the number one choice at Stoke and Thomas Sorensen is his understudy.
But the 20-year-old will probably want any loan move to provide him with first-team football.
Kirkland accepted when Stephen Bywater was with the Owls that competition was healthy and places had to be earned.
Bywater’s exit to Millwall left the club with Kirkland as the only experienced keeper, with Arron Jameson injured and Cameron Dawson and Adam Davies considered not yet ready for the Championship.
Butland joined Stoke in a £3.5m move from Birmingham in January and was loaned back to Blues for the remainder of the season so has yet to make an appearance for the Potters.
The manager who signed him, Tony Pulis, has been replaced by Mark Hughes.
The keeper said this month that he needs games if he is to break into the England squad for next year’s World Cup finals.
Like Kirkland, he has one full cap - Butland’s came in a 2-1 friendly win against Italy in Switzerland a year ago, when at 19 he became the youngest goalkeeper to play for the senior England side
He played for Birmingham in both their games against Wednesday last season, and for England Under 21s in this summer’s European Championship finals and the friendly against Scotland at Bramall Lane this month.
Butland also played for Great Britain in the Olympics.
Born in Bristol, he came through Birmingham’s youth system and had two loan spells at Cheltenham. Despite his youth he has already played 70 games, all of them in the league,
Wednesday are in the market for a striker and a midfield player.
Former Manchester City winger Martin Petrov has trained with the club and played in a private game against Chesterfield at Middlewood but it is understood that the Owls’ are not signing the 34-year-old Bulgarian, who has been playing for Espanyol in Spain.
Meanwhile, the extent of Lewis Buxton’s hamstring problem has still yet to be revealed, as the Owls prepare for Saturday’s match at Middlesbrough.
Liam Palmer is set to take the right back spot if Buxton is unable to make it after going off last Saturday.