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'Keeping' It Close To His Chest

PUBLISHED

10:00 10th January 2014

Gaffer has made his Preston decisions

Kenny Jackett already knows his starting eleven for tomorrow’s crucial Sky Bet League One clash with Preston (3pm) – but clearly he won’t be telling anyone.

And that means he has already made his mind up on the decision of who to play in goal against one of the league’s in-form teams.

With Carl Ikeme injured, Jackett’s most experienced keeper Wayne Hennessey is back in the squad having apologised both privately and publically for making himself unavailable for selection for last week’s game at Gillingham when thinking it was the best thing to do for him and Wolves given reported interest in his services.

With Jackett declaring that matter closed, the Welsh number one is back in his thoughts albeit battling for the shirt with Aaron McCarey, who produced a composed and confident league debut in the last-gasp 1-0 defeat.

“I know the team I am picking, and whatever I decided in the goalkeeping area I knew we would be strong,” he said.

“It is probably the strongest department at the club.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Wayne for what he’s done this week.

“He made the wrong call, and nothing can change that, but all you can then do is put that mistake down and go and get on with it.

“So from my point of view I have a lot of respect for the way he has handled it this week, getting his head down and committing himself to the group and he has done that in training.

“He is fit and available for selection for this weekend which is good news for us because he is a very good goalkeeper.

“At the same time Aaron did nothing wrong last week.

“He is the least experienced. I understand that, but right now he is a very good goalkeeper and he has proved that.

“He took it all in his stride last week.

“He didn’t have any chance with the goal, and although he didn’t have a lot to do or any saves to make, I felt his handling and his decision-making and his distribution was confident.

“He did well on loan at York following on from doing very well in the penalty shoot-out against Walsall (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy). He’s made a bright start to his Wolves career and he enhances a good and very strong goalkeeping department.”

Jackett has also explained why he was so honest with his explanation about Hennessey’s absence last week, and why he felt it was a different situation to Bakary Sako, who was also the subject of interest from elsewhere earlier in the season.

And whilst any fans’ criticism of Hennessey whether included from the start or on the bench may actually help tomorrow’s opponents, Jackett believes it is something the keeper must deal with – and would be able to deal with – should the situation arise.

He added:  “I do feel I have treated Wayne fairly and given the fact that by the time we got to Gillingham people generally knew what had happened, unfortunately I had very little choice after that than to handle it like I did.

“That’s my take on it.

“With Sako on one of them he had an illness, and, secondly, there was another club in some dialogue, so the situation was certainly accelerated past what it was last Thursday.

“I expected that interest to come on Thursday, or Friday after the meeting and to be the start of the process. 

“I’m sure Wayne did too but for whatever reason it fell away.

“The Sako thing at that particular time was an on-going situation that looked like it might come about.

“In terms of Wayne tomorrow I think it is just something he has got to go through and we’ve got to go through.

“If you get criticism in our industry, that’s par for the course.

“He can take that. If some criticism comes, or it doesn’t, that is something he has to overcome or come through because nothing has happened on the back of the particular incident last Thursday.

“Basically he needs to get back out there and deal with it, and so do we.

“This week he has spoken very well. It was an error, it was a mis-judgement. He can’t change it but all you can do is apologise and then get your head down and work and be committed to the club.

“He’s done that this week and he’ll do that on Saturday and he has to do that going forward.

“If some criticism comes because of that, he has to stay level (headed) and accept it.”

Elsewhere in terms of availability Matt Doherty is still not available following his hamstring injury.

But Jackett reports good progress with Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Jack Price from their knee injuries.

He is hopeful of both being back within ten days to two weeks, with Ebanks-Landell likely to be the first available.

Midfielder Jamie O’Hara is included as one of the over-age players in the Under-21 squad taking on Manchester City at Hyde this evening.

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