Cherries: Keeper keen to impress at Rovers
JON Stewart insists he is ready and prepared for the challenge after being unexpectedly handed an opportunity to prove himself in League One. The goalkeeper was called into first-team action after Cherries number one Shwan Jalal suffered a fractured eye socket in the draw at Leyton Orient on November 20. Jalal is set to be on the sidelines for around six weeks, an absence that hands rookie Stewart a chance to display his credentials. The Londoner, who had previously been with south coast neighbours Weymouth and Portsmouth, was snapped up on a two-year Dean Court deal in September. And after his Brisbane Road baptism of fire, the 6ft 4in keeper is keen to show his worth following the confidence-building clean sheet he kept in Cherries' 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town. He told the Echo: I only started the game last Tuesday and since then we haven't had a game because Saturday got called off, so I'm itching to play. I just want to play another game and keep playing. It's brilliant and it feels good. Jal got a serious facial injury so I feel sorry for him. I've got my chance it came sooner than I thought and I'm ready and I look forward to it. I'm well prepared, I train hard every day and I'm just looking forward to the games. We've got Bristol Rovers on Saturday which should be a good game. I've got a good week of training ahead of me and a whole week to get things done. Stewart revealed that he felt 100 per cent after recently participating in full training, something he was unable to do until he had shrugged off little injury problems and the effects of the fractured leg he sustained playing for Pompey in pre-season. For the past month or two, I have had full training sessions, said Stewart. I've played two reserve games so it's coming along. I'm improving and playing on Tuesday has given me a lot of confidence. I couldn't have really asked for much more than a clean sheet on my home debut. I had a bit to do as well, so I enjoyed it and the crowd were excellent, really loud. Stewart's task in the coming weeks will be to try to help Cherries continue their promising start to the campaign. He is confident Eddie Howe's men can carry on their progress. The former Swindon Town trainee added: I don't see why we can't push for and stay in the play-offs all season. Since I've been here, there hasn't been a team that I thought were better than us.
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