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Kirkland swaps Premier League for new challenge at Wednesday

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Sheffield Wednesday have agreed a deal to bring former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland to Hillsborough.

The 31-year-old will sign a two-year contract with the Owls when his current contract with Premier League Wigan Athletic ends next month.

Frustrated at being No 2 choice at Wigan, Kirkland’s arrival will mean he is competing with Nicky Weaver and Stephen Bywater – who has been offered, but not signed, a new contract – for the goalkeeper’s jersey.

And the former Coventry and Liverpool goalkeeper has dismissed any doubts over his injury record after chalking up over120 appearances for Wigan. A loan deal at Doncaster Rovers last season was cut short due to a back spasm.

Kirkland said: “This is a fantastic move for me and I am delighted to be here.

”There have been stories about injuries but I have been fully fit for the last two seasons at Wigan and really frustrated at being a No 2.

“I’m chomping at the bit to start playing again and to join a club like Sheffield Wednesday at this time is a great move.

“Everybody saw what happened at Hillsborough on the last day of the season and to think that I will be part of that is really exciting,” added Kirkland, who has eight Under-21 caps and made his solitary England appearance against Greece in 2006.

One player unlikely to be joining Kirkland at Hillsborough is Danny Batth after the defender revealed he hopes last season’s loan spell with the Owls can help him breakthrough at Wolverhampton Wanderers next season.

The centre-half spent last season on loan at Hillsborough, starting 44 of Wednesday’s 46 League One games. But despite Owls manager Dave Jones’s hopes of clinching a permanent deal for the 21-year-old, Batth – who has been at Molineux since he was 10 – wants to impress new Wolves manager Stale Solbakken in pre-season.

“I’ve been at Wolves since I was ten years old so my ambition is still to play regularly in the first team,” he said. “I’ve had to go and play football elsewhere but I think that has helped me.”

 

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