Video: Owls star Chris Kirkland chats to Dom Howson

As a footballer, it can be hard, sometimes, to switch off over the summer.

But having played a key part in Sheffield Wednesday retaining their Championship status last season, Chris Kirkland was keen to get away and enjoy his time off.

Sheffield Wednesday ace Chris Kirkland enjoyed his summer break.

Sheffield Wednesday ace Chris Kirkland enjoyed his summer break.

The giant goalkeeper took his wife, Leeona, and his six-year-old daughter Lucy to Disneyland in America.

“It was brilliant,” he told The Star. “That was the first time we had gone.

“My wife and I wanted to wait until Lucy was old enough to go. Lucy loved it. We went for two weeks and we all really enjoyed ourselves. It was very tiring and full on most days but it was a fantastic experience.”

It has been nearly two weeks since Kirkland and Wednesday started pre-season training. Dave Jones troops drew 1-1 with Steaua Bucharest in a private friendly last weekend as they continue to step up their preparations ahead of the 2013/14 season. Tonight they face Stockport County at Edgeley Park in a testimonial match for ex-striker Rodger Wylde, kick-off 7.45pm.

Kirkland, taking part in his 17th pre-season, said: “You have to put the hard graft in over pre-season.

“It is extremely hard. I’ve always said that goalkeeper training is harder than the outfield stuff. Andy Rhodes (the club’s goalkeeping coach) is brilliant. He mixes everything up really well.”

Wednesday jet out on Sunday for their week-long pre-season trip to Portugal. During the club’s training camp, Jones side will face Braga on Tuesday July 16 and newly-promoted Premier League outfit Hull City on Saturday July 20 in warm-up matches.

“I am looking forward to Portugal as I didn’t go last year,” said Kirkland. “We’ve got some tough games so we will see how it goes.”

Wednesday’s trip to Barnsley on Saturday October 26 will kick-off at 12.15pm, having been selected by Sky Sports for live TV coverage.