SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Pals from the same school of thinking

Kids link: Chris Kirkland's children go to the same school as Neil Mellor's
Kids link: Chris Kirkland's children go to the same school as Neil Mellor's

NEIL Mellor has given the thumbs-up to Chris Kirkland’s move to Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls’ new keeper has told how the former loan star was able to give him some insight into life at Hillsborough.

They have been living in the same area of Manchester and their children go to the same school.

“I’m quite pally with Neil; he congratulated me on the move and had nothing but good to say about the club,” Kirkland told The Star.

“He said the fans are great and I’ll love it there, and the staff are great and very friendly. And that’s what it was like when I went to the club; the people were so easy to talk to. When you get on with people it makes it easier.”

He will join the Owls officially on July 1 on a two-year deal after his Wigan contract expires at the end of next month.

His ears pricked up a couple of weeks ago when he learned of the Owls’ interest.

“I’ve heard the phrase ‘sleeping giant’. The club seem to be waking up now.

“After promotion this season, the club will be on the up and I want to join that. With the gaffer being keen to bring me in, that was a major plus as well. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him.

“When I mentioned Sheffield Wednesday to my dad, he said ‘I don’t think you’ll get a better club than that’.”

The move also brings him closer to his family - he comes from Leicester.

But uppermost in his mind is trying to win a place in the Owls team and making his mark next season after being out of the first-team picture at Wigan.

“There’s no guarantee I’m going to play, and that’s how it should be,” he says. “There’s great competition. I’m going to work hard to try to get into the team, and if I do get in then I’m going to have to do well to stay there.”

Kirkland had a spot of trouble with back spasms in loan spells at Leicester and Doncaster, and was with Rovers for only a week last autumn. He explained: “It was nothing serious. I could be okay the next day. But I took the decision to get some therapy; they injected some of the ligaments and pinpointed the problem.

“Since than I’ve been 100 per cent, and generally I’ve been fit for the last two years.

“If there was any problem, I wouldn’t be able to do the work I do.

“I have to prove to people now that I can still do it on the field. I know I can.”