Joey Barton might have dubbed him the best keeper in League One but for Alex Cairns that crown is not yet his to claim.
Cairns sparked interest from the Championship in the transfer window and showed his class with a penalty shoot-out save from Perry Ng in Tuesday’s League Cup win at Crewe.
But Cairns is not resting on his laurels and said of Barton’s praise: “For that to come from the gaffer is brilliant but I have to prove that week in, week out now.
“He has said that at the start of the season and it is up to me to show why I am the best in this league.
“I will do my best but it is a team game. There are 10 lads in front of me and I need the whole squad to do a job as much as I need to do mine.
“It is team over self and that is the exact phrase the gaffer is putting into us.
“If we can churn wins out like that, it is all good for confidence.”
Barton has brought experienced shot-stopper Paul Jones in to help push number one Cairns, while Matty Urwin and Billy Crellin have been loaned out to non-league clubs Chorley and FC United.
But Cairns won’t forget his responsibility to help the young duo and is pleased to have Jones on board.
He added: “Paul is brilliant. I think Matty and Billy have both been brilliant too.
“They are off to get games but we all keep in touch and speak on a Monday to see how each other’s games have gone.
“Billy and Matt need games and I will help them along the way because I have been there.
“Paul is an experienced head, who brings calmness and can push me on.”