Former keeper's thoughts on new signing
Matt Murray has hailed the shot-stopping ability of Wolves new goalkeeping signing Andy Lonergan, and believes his experience will be a positive influence within the Molineux dressing room.
Murray and Lonergan have kept in touch down the years right from the time they were at Lilleshall undergoing rehabilitation for respective injuries, and the former Wolves keeper believes the club have made a good signing in acquiring his services.
But Murray also knows Lonergan will be aware he faces a big challenge to dislodge Carl Ikeme, who was in top form for Wolves after returning to the team midway through last season.
“I was with Andy at Lilleshall a long time ago when he was re-habbing his cruciate injury,” says Murray.
“He had some problems with it and was there for the rehab but since then I think he has been available for pretty much every game.
“And that is a testament to the work that he has done.
“He is a very consistent campaigner, who has been involved in Preston teams that were always pushing for the play-offs.
“Personally, I would say his biggest strength is that he has phenomenal reflexes - he is an unbelievable shot stopper.
“I remember a game at Deepdale when we beat Preston 1-0 but he made an unbelievable save, I think it was off Andy Keogh.
“I have seen him make saves like that when I have seen him while working for Sky.
“I think Matt Doherty will be reminding him of the shot against Fulham last season which won Wolves the game, and maybe James Henry from against Bolton at the Macron the year before too.
“The lads will be devastated he is coming to Wolves because our last two goals of the season have been against him!”
Murray believes Lonergan’s experience and personality is going to prove a big asset to the Wolves dressing room as well as the other goalkeepers with whom he will work every day.
“Everyone knows what a brilliant pro Andy is,” he adds.
“He has a very good reputation in the game and he works really hard and is well-liked.
“He has played for some big clubs in Preston, Leeds, Bolton and Fulham.
“I remember when he was a young pup at Preston and ended up making his debut in a strange way because everyone was injured.
“I think he was 16 and had to come in – and to still be playing at a good level now shows what an excellent pro that he is.
“He will be under no illusions and will know he is coming in for a real fight for the shirt.
“We saw how Kemes rose to the challenge when Emi Martinez came in last season and he will be bang up for it again now.
“It will be really good to have that competition for places.
“And it is good that Lonners is also at an age where he has that experience which will help around the dressing room whether or not he is playing.
“He is another role model who the younger keepers can learn from, just like they do with Carl.
“You always want at least two good senior keepers because you never know what is going to happen with injuries and suspensions.
“And it brings the best out of everyone as well.
“If you are in the team, and working in training with good keepers, you know that if your standards drop at all there is a chance of losing your place because there is someone waiting in the wings.
“He has been in this position before, as he was with (Marcus) Bettinelli at Fulham, so he knows what it is like.”