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[02 APR 99] COVENTRY CITY FC NEWS
Teenage Kirkland Ready For Keeper Call-up

Teenage giant Chris Kirkland is ready to take on a man’s job to help keep Coventry City in the Premiership if he is called upon to do so.

The 17 year old youth player finds himself in the limelight as backup to Swedish international Magnus Hedman for Coventry's vital Easter programme.

The youngster will be on the substitutes’ bench against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough tomorrow and at home to Southampton on Monday.

He gets his chance because veteran keeper Steve Ogrizovic is under specialist treatment for a neck injury. Manager Gordon Strachan tried to bring in an experienced goalkeeper on loan to the end of the season, but failed to find anyone before the transfer deadline.

Strachan said:

"We now go with what we have got which means young Chris will be on the bench at Hillsborough."

The 6ft 5in tall local youngster will not be thrown by that. He has been on the bench twice recently at Aston Villa and in the home match against Tottenham. But with eight matches to the end of the season and no guarantee Ogrizovic will be fit, he could find himself in the team.

"I will be ready," he promises. "Steve, Magnus and our goalkeeper coach Jim Blyth have all helped me a lot and if Magnus should get injured I will try not to let anyone down."

Strachan has other problems. He says:

"We could be without three of our regular back four against Sheffield. Roland Nilsson, a world class right-back is back home in Sweden recovering from fractured ribs, David Burrows is suspended and we have to see whether Paul Williams has recovered from his sciatica. I played with sciatica for years and it is a time bomb."

Striker John Aloisi is also suspended but Strachan can call on Noel Whelan who was banned for the last match at Arsenal and he received a bonus when the FA did not slap a ban on Paul Telfer for his eleven bookings.

Coventry need points and Strachan said:

"It is the time of the season when physical and mental strength counts. It could also be decided by an outrageous piece of luck this year."
    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 2 Apr 99

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