Fleetwood Town new boy Jimmy Dunne targets more clean sheets ahead of Oxford United’s visit

Jimmy Dunne figured against Blackpool last season while on loan at Sunderland
Jimmy Dunne figured against Blackpool last season while on loan at Sunderland

Jimmy Dunne is eager to help increase Fleetwood Town’s clean sheet tally against Oxford United on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Irishman joined Town on loan from Burnley on deadline day, and with Harry Souttar on international duty with Australia, he is eyeing a starting spot.

Ash Eastham partnered Peter Clarke in central defence for the 2-1 EFL Trophy defeat to Accrington Stanley in midweek.

However, while Dunne has stressed he joined Fleetwood in order to play, he is also relishing the opportunity to watch Clarke and Eastham both on the training ground and on the pitch as they battle for a starting spot.

He said: “I want to be in the team, playing.

“It is about the team, the team want to go forward and the best players will play.

“With the experienced lads there, as well as it being competitive I’m also looking forward to learning off them.

“They are continuing to have fantastic careers and it is an opportunity to learn off them with the experience that they have got.”

Dunne is two-footed but predominately plays on the left side of defence – and has also featured at left-back.

He is keen to build on previous loan spells at Barrow, Accrington, Hearts and Sunderland.

He said: “That is where I predominately played, at the left side of the back, but I will fill in wherever needed at any stage.

“I won’t complain but I’m a central defender and I want to defend first.

“Then anything after that is a bonus for me. That is where I want to be.”

Fleetwood have registered only one clean sheet in their opening eight games going into Saturday’s game with Oxford.

Dunne featured for Sunderland against Saturday’s visitors last season and, given that experience, he is expecting it to be an attacking encounter.

If he does get the nod, then clean sheets rather than goals are his focus.

He said: “I’ve played against Oxford before.

“I know they are a team that like to go forward, attack, will want to put us on the back foot.

“I know we will want to do the same to them so I expect it to be an exciting game.

“One thing we will be concentrating on is clean sheets.

“For me, personally, it is something I take pride in.

“There is definitely the quality up the other end to score goals.

“That is what we are about, clean sheets, and that is what I will be aiming for.”