Cherries: Jalal is Mr Clean

18 September 2009 07:00
SAFE hands Shwan Jalal believes maintaining a Scrooge-like defence could yield handsome dividends for Eddie Howes mean machine.

Jalal has been instrumental in Cherries success under Howe, his series of excellent displays a key factor in last seasons heroic escape from relegation.

And the 26-year-old has this season continued from where he left off, with table-topping Cherries boasting the best defensive record in League Two.

Jalal, who briefly lost his place to David Button following Cherries trip to Darlington in January, will be hoping for another shut-out when he faces the Quakers tomorrow.

Since reclaiming the number one spot, the former Spurs trainee has kept no fewer than 13 clean sheets in 25 league games and conceded just 13 goals.

Jalal told the Daily Echo: A good defensive record is vital to every teams success and you only have to look at the top of the Premier League to see evidence of that. You dont get anywhere without a successful defence.

I couldnt have any more faith in the lads in front of me. We get on each others backs during the games but thats all part of it and were all mates afterwards.

Clean sheets start from the front so its a team effort. The more we can keep, the better. Its a great feeling to know weve come off the pitch and nobody has been able to get beyond the defence.

I kept 17 last season and want to beat that this season. I think weve got the ability to pass that. We know weve got the ability in our squad, its about going on to the pitch to show everybody else.

We know people are going to be chasing us because were top of the league so weve got to go out in every game and dig out results.

Jalal, who has conceded only four league goals in seven games this season, was beaten for the first time at Dean Court by Lincolns Chris Fagan six days ago.

It was a great goal, said Jalal. Id hold up my hand if there had been anything I could have done about it. Im my own worst critic but it was a great strike. He van-Bastened it into the top corner!

The fewer goals I concede, the better and, if we can have a good home record, that would give us a good platform. The defence have been superb and the longer we play together, the more experience we will have and safer we will become.

Asked whether he felt Ryan Pryces departure had made life easier for him, Jalal replied: Im being pushed every day in training by Eddie and Mossy (Neil Moss) and it shoulders more responsibility on me.

I love the fact Im being pushed. You can never rest on your laurels.

I want to be the best at what I do and Im sure everybody else is the same.

Source: Bournemouth_Echo