O'Neill Considering Letting 'Keeper Leave

Michael Regan

After Connor Wickham headed for the exit door yesterday having secured a loan move to Sheffield Wednesday, the next out the door could be Keiren Westwood.

Just yesterday Sheffield Wednesday took advantage of the loan system to take Connor Wickham off our hands for at least a month, the next out the door could be Keiren Westwood as Martin O'Neill mulls over letting the second choice 'keeper leave the club on a temporary basis.

The 28-year old is desperate for game time at the moment having figured only in a couple of Capital One Cup clashes this season.

This week his international manager Giovanni Trapattoni gave him a second warning about not playing potentially costing him his place as Ireland's number one, and with all the above factors in play, Martin O'Neill is considering letting him go on a short-term basis, as he explained to The Chronicle today;

In an ideal world, it would be nice to get Keiren out to get some games to get that feeling of competition back in his bones.

With an outfield player, you feel - at worst - that you can move people around a little bit.

With a goalkeeper, it's hard to do. At this moment, it's fine for young Pickford to watch things from the bench for two or three games, knowing your goalkeeper is going to get through the matches. But any more than that and it's a concern.

It's frustrating for Keiren because he wants to play games in someone's team. We'll have a look at it.

Unlike the Wickham deal, this one is unlikely to stir any debate or create much noise around the club. Sunderland are well stocked with good young goalkeepers and it would serve both Westwood well to get some games and potentially put himself in the shop window, while Jordan Pickford would also benefit from being in and around the squad on a matchday basis.

Many people expect Westwood to leave permanently in the summer, with Hull City, Ipswich Town and several other Championship teams all reportedly interested in acquiring his services.

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