SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Stephen Bywater ready for Chris Kirkland battle

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stephen Bywater is up for the challenge of keeping the No 1 jersey at Hillsborough despite the arrival of ex-England keeper Chris Kirkland.

Bywater told The Star that the signing of Kirkland did not deter him from agreeing a new one-year deal.

“I wanted to be part of the gaffer’s squad, part of a Sheffield Wednesday that’s trying to keep on being successful,” said the Owls’ promotiom-winning keeper.

“If I play, Chris will support me; if he plays, I will support him, and we’ve got Nicky Weaver as well.

“The objective is to do well for Sheffield Wednesday - it’s not just about who plays. Obviously I’m fighting for my place. I want to play and show the manager I can do it. If I’m called upon I’ll do my best; if not I’ll support the rest of the lads 100 per cent.

“I’m happy to be here and to be part of something big. It’s exciting, and we’ve got a squad who get on and want to work for each other to bring more success.”

He added that he joined the Owls from Derby on a full deal in January under similar terms: “I wasn’t given any guarantee that I was going to play; no player gets that anyway.”

But he went on to play a major role in the clinching of promotion.

“I think we could do well next season,” he added. “The manager is experienced enough. He’s done it before and a has a reputation for getting good players of various ages.”