DCSIMG

Sheffield Wednesday: Back-up Bywater impresses behind the scenes

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CHRIS Kirkland has received plenty of plaudits this season, but Dave Jones feels the Owls’ No 2 keeper, Stephen Bywater, should not be forgotten.

Last season’s first choice in the promotion side lost his place after Kirkland was signed in the summer.

Bywater, however, has proved to be a supportive figure - just as he promised when he signed a new contract, undeterred by Kirkland’s arrival.

“Chrissy is a good, experienced keeper, and it’s been hard for Stephen,” says Jones. “But he has been magificent and deserves a big slap on the back.

“Not once has he caused a problem. He had a reputation that he could be a bit troublesome; in fact he’s been A1. He wants to be part of the club for a long time.”

Bywater vowed in the summer that he would give 100 per cent either in playing or supporting others and wanted to be part of a club that was going places.

Jones insists that he never regarded Kirkland as an automatic choice and would have swapped the keepers around if necessary.

But the former England man has shown such consistent form that Bywater has been mostly kept on the bench.

Jones added: “It was a decision I made, to bring Chris in, and he has come good. It was also good for him to get a clean sheet at Barnsley. He’s one of the players you enjoy working with because he sets a standard for others. But you can’t forget the other fella, and it’s magnificent for a manager as well when he’s right behind you.”

Charlton manager Chris Powell is targeting a top-10 spot for his team and an improvement after three games without a win.

“I’m looking for us to turn that around, but we’re playing a Wednesday day team who will be a bit buoyant from winning their Yorkshire derby,” he said. “It is a game I feel we can approach in the right way and look to get three points, get our season going again and look to get on another positive run. It was really good; now we have to do it all over again.”

Addicks striker Ricardo Fuller is hoping to be involved over the Christmas period as he works his way back after injuring a hamstring when he scored with a long-range shot against Peterborough on November 27.

 

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