Sheffield Wednesday: Former No 1 inspired by Chris as he seeks new club

Keeper Nicky Weaver is waving goodbye to the Owls after a season ruined by injury
Keeper Nicky Weaver is waving goodbye to the Owls after a season ruined by injury
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Nicky Weaver hopes to follow the example of Chris Kirkland as he looks for a new club and bids to rejuvenate his career.

Kirkland’s success after his move from Wigan to Hillsborough has not been lost on the 34-year-old who has been released by the Owls.

Like Weaver, Kirkland had not been playing any recent first-team football; the former England keeper also had a history of injuries.

But Kirkland has proved himself by playing in every league game this season and standing out as one of the team’s most consistent performers.

Weaver told The Star: “Obviously I didn’t play at all last season; that will go against me when I’m trying to get a new club.

“I’m in a similar situation to the one that Chris Kirkland was in last year. A lot of people wondered if he could stand the rigours of playing week in week outand playing two games a week.

“But he’s played every minute of every league game.

“I’m hoping that I will go on and do the same.

“I just need somebody to give me a chance to prove I can do it.”

Weaver also revealed that he came close to going out on loan this season before he was knocked back by a hand injury from which he has now fully recovered.

He added: “I was feeling good but the hand kept niggling away. By the middle of January I thought ‘I need to get this looked at’. I didn’t want to commit myself to a move until it was sorted out.

“I’d fractured a bone at the back of the hand and needed to have a piece of bone removed.

“There were a couple of clubs showing interest in January; it would have been nice to go out and play a few games; it was very disappointing that I couldn’t, but I needed to get the hand right.

“I tried to really push it and get fit before the March loan deadline - I was nearly there, but not quite.

“Once I couldn’t make that deadline, the medical staff thought it best I didn’t hurry, and the main concern was getting it 100 per cent for pre-season. It is 100 per cent now, and I feel really good.”

Weaver has been released after playing 57 games in three years as a fully-fledged Wednesday player plus 14 when he was on loan from Manchester City in the 2005-06 season.

He went to City after beginning his career as a youngster at Mansfield and has played for Charlton, Dundee United and Burnley.

His fellow put-of-contract Wednesday keeper, Stephen Bywater, has received an offer of a new deal from the Owls.