He’s got the new kit and now Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Alex Cairns is determined to prove he deserves his number one shirt as he bids to fulfil a childhood ambition.
Cairns, 25, was rested for the training game against Southport on Tuesday, when Town won 3-1 and as new boss Joey Barton witnessed the battle between Billy Crellin and Matty Urwin to be the main back-up for Cairns.
Both were given 45 minutes but Cairns is set to return for tomorrow’s friendly at Salford City, where his former Town team-mate Chris Neal is expected to be in goal for the home side.
Though Town have not yet revealed their squad numbers, Cairns is on course to fulfil a childhood dream by having the number one emblazoned on his jersey.
Cairns modelled the new keeper’s home and away strips, and he intends to prove he deserves to be number one when the League One season begins at home to AFC Wimbledon on August 4.
He said: “For me it has always just been a number, but growing up as a goalkeeper you want the number one shirt. I’ve got it but now it is up to me to keep it.
“I will be doing my best in pre-season to make sure I deserve it.”
It has been a whirlwind two seasons at Town, full of highs and lows for Cairns.
Prior to his move to Town, Cairns’ only League appearance had been as a substitute in Leeds United’s 5-0 Championship defeat by Blackpool in November 2011.
Second-choice stints, loan spells to non-league and permanent moves to Chestefield and Rotherham followed that debut.
But five years later, another chance off the bench at Chesterfield sowed a seed in Uwe Rosler’s mind that paved the way for Cairns to establish himself as Fleetwood’s first choice stop-stopper.
His elevation coincided with that 18-game unbeaten run that propelled Town to a promotion challenge.
Last season started with a spectacular triple save at Northampton Town that even drew praise from Spain and Manchester United keeper David De Gea, but by the turn of the year Cairns had lost his confidence and his place to Neal.
He regained his starting spot in February and his clean sheets under John Sheridan helped Town secure safety.
Now Cairns faces another fresh start and said:” Summer has been good. It was good to have that mental break. I’ve played two seasons now and have a little bit more experience and belief, and a bit more of a positive attitude.”