Sheffield Wednesday: Owls eye Shrews star to cast doubt over Kirkland’s future

Chris Kirkland faces an uncertain future despite being offered a new one-year contract
Chris Kirkland faces an uncertain future despite being offered a new one-year contract

Chris Kirkland’s days at Hillsborough appear to be numbered as Wednesday are lining up a move for highly-regarded Shrewsbury Town goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler.

The Star understands the Owls are big admirers of Swiss ace Leutwiler, casting further doubt over Kirkland’s future.

Before Keiren Westwood’s arrival, Kirkland, formerly of Coventry City, Liverpool and Wigan Athletic, was Wednesday’s first-choice goalkeeper.

But Kirkland played second fiddle to Westwood during the 2014/15 campaign, featuring just eight times.

Four of the 34-year-old’s seven starts came in the cup competitions, with Stuart Gray preferring Westwood, Wednesday’s player of the season, in between the sticks. Westwood’s impressive performances and form led to the Republic of Ireland international being included in the Professional Footballers’ (PFA) Association Championship Team of the Year.

Kirkland, one of five players offered a new deal by the Championship club on May 5, stepped into the breach in two out of the Owls’ final three matches after Westwood sustained minor injuries.

Following Wednesday’s decision to pursue other shot-stoppers, Kirkland is believed to be weighing up his options. He may choose to turn down Owls’ contract offer and go elsewhere in search of regular first-team football.

Leutwiler, meanwhile, joined the Shrews from Middlesbrough last summer and played an influential role in them gaining promotion to League One, breaking a 47-year club record by registering 23 shut-outs in the season.

Shrewsbury boasted the meanest defence in the Football League, conceding a measly 31 goals. On home soil, their backline was breached just 11 times.

Leutwiler, who started his career with FC Basel, is contracted to the Shrews until 2016.

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