Sheffield Wednesday: Keiren Westwood urged to stay with Owls

Wednesday number one Keiren Westwood
Wednesday number one Keiren Westwood
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Cameron Dawson hopes fellow goalkeeper Keiren Westwood stays at Hillsborough, despite reports heavily linking him with a move away from the Championship club.

Westwood, who was instrumental in Wednesday securing a play-off spot last season, keeping 16 clean sheets, is said to be on Middlesbrough’s radar.

Cameron Dawson

Cameron Dawson

Boro are looking to bring in a new goalkeeper ahead of the 2017/18 season and have reportedly had a bid rejected for Westwood.

The Republic of Ireland international has been a model of consistency since joining the Owls on a free transfer from Sunderland in July 2014, claiming the club’s player of the season award in two of the last three campaigns. His present contract runs out next summer.

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Academy graduate Dawson told The Star: “It is there for everyone to see how good Keiren has been for us. His performances have been great over the last three years and I would put him right up there in terms of Championship goalies, if not at the top.

Joe Wildsmith

Joe Wildsmith

“Keiren has a lot of experience and he performs well week in, week out. It is excellent for Sheffield Wednesday if he stays.”

Westwood has established himself as the Owls’ number one shot-stopper, with youngsters Dawson and Joe Wildsmith providing able cover.

Boyhood Wednesday fan Dawson deputised on four occasions for Westwood last term, making his senior debut as a half-time substitute against Brighton and Hove Albion in October.

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“I have been lucky to work with the likes of Keiren, Chris Kirkland, Stephen Bywater and Nicky Weaver,” conceded Dawson. “They are four real top goalkeepers who have been around for some time and have lots of league games under their belts.

“It has been a great thing for me to learn from them.”

Wednesday have assembled one of the strongest squads in the Championship over the last two campaigns, sealing back-to-back play-off finishes.

And Dawson, who penned a new deal last week, is convinced the Owls are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the division for the third year running.

“I’m sure the club will bring in a couple of players over the summer and try to strengthen a few areas,” said Dawson. “We will give it (promotion) a right good go again. I’m not saying we are going to finish in the automatic places but we will be working hard day in day out to put results together.”

Buoyed after signing a new three-year contract extension, Dawson has called on the Owls to follow Brighton and Hove Albion’s example. The Seagulls secured a top-two finish last year after a number of play-off disappointments.

“Brighton spent three or four years building their team and getting closer to the top positions,” said Dawson. “Hopefully we can follow their blueprint.”

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