Sheffield Wednesday: Prize guy Chris eyes safety

Chris Kirkland took the Wednesday Player of the Year trophy at The Star and Green'Un football awards
Chris Kirkland took the Wednesday Player of the Year trophy at The Star and Green'Un football awards

Chris Kirkland goes in search of another prize on Saturday after winning the Sheffield Wednesday Player of the Year trophy.

The former England keeper will regard keeping the Owls up as one of the highspots of his career.

Kirland is delighted to have taken his honour in The Star and Green ‘Un Football Awards.

“It’s a great compliment,” the 31-year-old told The Star, pleased with his form in his first season at Hillsborough.

“I know I’ve got to perform or I’ll be out, because Stephen Bywater is a great goalkeeper.”

Now Kirkland is focusing on trying to help the Owls seal safety this weekend, saying this would be “at the top” of his achievements.

“It is a magnificent club with a great fanbase. If we could do it, it would be superb. It will be hard but it would give me great satisfaction. It is what we are striving for.

“We put ourselves into a terrible position ealrier in the season; on Saturday we can put that to bed.

“There is still work to be done. It is vitally important for everyone at the club that we stay up. We are fighting for people’s livelihoods, from the people at the ground to the catering staff. We need to stay in this league and we fully accept that, as players.

“So hopefully we can finish the job at Peterborough.

“It’s going to be a tough game. Peterborough are a very good team at home. But we’ll have a following there; our fans are magnificent. They support us at home and away in their thousands.

“Hopefully we can finish it on Saturday for them, and give them a peaceful last game of the season,”

Kirkland, in treasuring his award, also appreciates the help that he has received.

“I’d like to thank all my team-mates, the gaffer and the chairman, and give a big thank-you to Andy Rhodes (goalkeeping coach); he’s been superb for me.

“Stephen Bywater has been great as well.

“It’s the goalkeepers’ union. We’re all tight-knit. We enjoy training and we push one another.

“It’s not about individuals; it’s about the team, and it will always be that way.

“We have to keep working hard. There is a great camaraderie among the lads and the training is very good. If we win on Saturday, we are safe. We are not looking at anything else. You can’t rely on anyone else.

“Peterborough have been on a good run over the last few months. We know what we have to do. We are not relying on other people, which is a good thing. It is up to us to do the business.

“I have never played there before. I’ve heard it is quite a tight ground. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere. The coaching staff will have us ready.

“It is a good job we have been on a good run ourselves or we could have been cut adrift like Bristol City.“

*See The Star on Friday for pictures and full coverage of our football awards evening.