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11 Feb 2022 : The Goalkeeper Situation

I understand from the outside looking in, it would appear that we are signing goalkeepers on a weekly basis. I wanted to use this opportunity to clarify the situation to our supporters relating to the goalkeeper position.

Obviously we began the season with Joe Young on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers. We were able to utilise Joe during our pre-season fixtures which gave us a real opportunity to have a good look at him and integrate him within our group. Joe sustained an injury during November while training with Wolves. As a result, we signed Dermott Mee from Manchester United on a short term loan for the period that Joe would be injured. Obviously a number of games were postponed during this time which meant Dermott only played two games for us during his loan spell. Joe's loan ran until January as a loan of a professional (as opposed to a scholar) from a Premier League club can only happen from transfer window to transfer window. We had hoped to extend the loan, but quite rightly Joe had attracted interest from further up the pyramid and moved to Matlock Town when the transfer window opened.

Given how quickly this happened, we were in a position where we needed to replace Joe but weren't in a position where we could commit to anyone for the remainder of the season. We have a really tight knit group and are among the clubs that have used the fewest players during the season so far. We brought Jak Stewart in from Everton on a Work Experience loan as well as signing Scott Reed. Scott's previous club was Bangor City which meant we had to obtain International Clearance for him which ruled him out of some of January's fixtures. We dual registered Scott with Irlam upon his International Clearance being received to allow him to get some game time having not played for so long. Scott came in for the Colne and Workington games but sustained a finger injury on the Thursday evening training session before Trafford. It was out of the blue as he came to claim a ball right at the end of training. With this in mind and without being sure how long Scott would be injured for we had to sign a goalkeeper last Friday. Bolton Wanderers were really helpful in making Matt Alexander available and we took Matt on loan the day before the Trafford game. Matt sustained an injury during the Trafford game that became apparent during a training session at Bolton on Monday. Honestly, we began to wonder whether we were just cursed when it came to goalkeepers. Supporters have remarked to me that Linnets have never had any luck with goalkeepers as we were determined to do the right one.

In the background, Owen Mooney was a goalkeeper we had an interest in during the summer. He is an outstanding goalkeeper and has already made 25 appearances for Newcastle Town at the same level of football as ourselves this season. Owen's situation at Newcastle Town changed earlier this week and we were able to agree a loan deal after our midweek game against Marine. Owen isn't a goalkeeper we are just taking a chance on, he is a talented boy that has shown how capable he is at this level of football and we are delighted to have him on board until the end of the season. A loan goalkeeper is something I see as really beneficial at this level, as it gives you the opportunity to have a player that is training every day at a full-time club further up the pyramid. I think we saw the benefits of this with Joe Young earlier in the season and we are excited to have Owen with us.

I understand frustrations at the way things have played out. I realise supporters are keen to form a bond with our players the way that they have with our team this season. We look forward to the final eleven games of the season with real excitement for what lies ahead and know what a big part our supporters will have to play.

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