Owls squad assessment: Goalkeepers
Wednesday in a position of strength between the sticks
With Championship safety secured the focus for Sheffield Wednesday over the summer will be on how the squad can be improved in order to try and improve on the past season's points tally of 58.
Owls-mad will take a look at each position individually to assess what Wednesday currently have and highlight the areas in which the squad could need to be strengthened.
The first position under the microscope is goalkeeper. Last summer Dave Jones moved to bring in former England stopper Chris Kirkland. The move was seen as something of a gamble by some supporters due to his perceived injury problems. Thankfully the fears proved to be unfounded as the ex-Liverpool keeper was an ever present in the League for the Owls.
Kirkland's was a consistent performer throughout the campaign, winning plenty of plaudits for numerous man of the match displays while his mistakes were few ad far between. As testament to his ability and his displays during 2012/13 Kirkland was awarded the SWFC player of the year award by local newspaper the Star and he also finished a close runner up to Lewis Buxton in the clubs official award as voted for by fans on the SWFC website.
The 32-year-old has been rumoured to have attracted interest from Premier League clubs but he has stated he is happy at Hillsborough and if they can hold on to him the Owls can be confident that they have one of the best number ones in the Championship.
Stephen Bywater was back up to Kirkland last season and has been offered a new deal by the Owls. His opportunities were restricted last season, making just 4 cup appearances as a result of Kirkland's form and fitness but he can be regarded as a dependable 2nd choice stopper at this level. Bywater played a key role in the run in to the Owls promotion in 2011/12 and he has plenty of experience at this level and his belt.
Wednesday have released experienced keeper Nicky Weaver but in truth his best days as a keeper are behind him and the past couple of seasons have been hampered by injury. The club also have youngsters Arron Jameson and Cameron Dawson on their books with the latter recently being called up to represent England under 19's.
Providing that Kirkland isn't tempted away by a potential offer of top flight football and Bywater signs the new deal offered to him then Wednesday can be more than satisfied with the goalkeepers that they have and this is a position that they will not need to spend on during the summer.
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