Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Kirkland joins Foxes

Chris Kirkland
Chris Kirkland

Wigan's out-of-favour goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has joined hometown club Leicester on a one-month emergency loan.

The deal reunites the 29-year-old with Sven-Goran Eriksson, the manager who first called him into the England squad seven years ago.

Kirkland has lost his place at the DW Stadium to on-loan Ali Habsi but Wigan, who confirmed the deal, will retain the right to recall him at 24 hours' notice.

Latics manager Roberto Martinez said: "Chris has been training really well but to improve his form he probably needs to play some games.

"It is a great opportunity for him. I think it is the best possible way for Chris to get back to his best match fitness. He is going to a team making a really good challenge and it is probably what he needs now after the consistency he has shown in training.

"Goalkeeper is a very specific position and it can be frustrating at times. We feel from now until January 1 is a perfect window, with a huge amount of games, where Chris can really push himself and enjoy his football."

The former Liverpool and Coventry keeper started the season in the Wigan side but was dropped by Martinez after conceding 10 goals to Blackpool and Chelsea in the opening two Barclays Premier League games.

His only senior appearance since came because Al Habsi was unable to play against parent club Bolton under the terms of his season-long move. Al Habsi's performances have led to speculation Martinez could seek to sign the Oman international permanently.

The Spaniard did not comment on that specifically at a press conference today but insisted this was not the beginning of the end of Kirkland's four-year spell with the Latics.

Martinez said: "It is a real boost for his Wigan career. He had a couple of niggles earlier on in the season and that affected his form. Ali has come in and done extremely well. Now it is just a way for Chris to keep competing for the number one shirt from a distance."

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