Keeper's Max-imum attention on survival

Fleetwood Town keeper Chris Maxwell is not ruling out a last-gasp international call-up for this summers UEFA European Championships but says his sole focus is on Town's survival fight.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 10:28 am
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 10:47 am
Fleetwood Town's Chris Maxwell during the pre-match warm-up before the Burton Albion game . Photographer Chris Vaughan/CameraSport

The former Wales U-21 shot-stopper is not in Wales boss Chris Coleman’s 26-man senior squad for tonight’s home friendly clash against Northern Ireland or the Easter Monday friendly against the Ukraine.

Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey, 29, is playing regular Premier League football and is Coleman’s favoured number one.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle keeper Owain Fon Williams is currently second choice, with the third spot currently held by Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward, 22, despite the fact he has not played a senior game since his loan at Aberdeen was cut short in January.

St Asaph-born Maxwell, 25, hasn’t missed a League One match for Town since their promotion in 2014. He has kept six clean sheets in this season’s 37 league games, besides playing in all the cup ties.

The keeper says he is still optimistic of his chances of a late call-up to be part of the squad that travels to France in June for Euro 2016.

But after missing out on lining-up against Town team- mate Conor McLaughlin’s Northern Ireland side in Cardiff, the keeper says his priority is keeping the ball out of the net for 19th-placed Fleetwood at Chesterfield on Saturday.

He said: “I would never say never (about being called into the Welsh side). You never know who is watching and you never know what might happen.

“All I know is that I have got to make sure I keep the ball out of the back of the net for Fleetwood to make sure we get three points consistently to keep us in the league.

“As long as our performances are right, you never know what might happen.

“I’m always going to be optimistic until I’m told otherwise and we will see.

“(Wales) is not at the forefront of my mind at the moment. “If that happens it is a bonus.

“I’m fully concentrating on Fleetwood and that will happen until the end of the season.”

Despite focusing on helping Town beat the drop, Maxwell is aware that national team boss Coleman has been to watch him play for Fleetwood this term.

But he says having the former Fulham boss in the stands does not affect his performance because he gives his all for the cause every time he puts on the gloves.

Maxwell added: “I don’t like to know (if I’m being scouted) to be honest. I don’t think it makes a difference – it does not to myself in terms of my performance on the pitch.

“My performances each week should be right anyway, so it should not matter whether anyone is watching.

“I have had a couple of words now and again when the manager has come to the games, and to know that he is there watching is fantastic.

“If the manager is watching, brilliant; if not, I will still be doing the same things. I play right, all will be good.”

The Wales boss has an extra interest in Fleetwood because of Wales U21 striker Wes Burns’ loan move from Bristol City to Highbury.

Burns was called up to the senior Welsh squad last October for the European qualifiers against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Andorra as a replacement for the injured David Cotterill.

Like McLaughlin, the striker will miss Fleetwood’s clash with the Spireites due to his involvement with the U21s.

And after Burns netted three times in his last six games, Maxwell believes he may well catch the eye of Coleman before the final 24-man squad is unveiled.

He said: “Wes is now in the team and he has been in a couple of the senior squads, so the manager has that interest as well in him.

“He has settled down and become part of the team pretty quickly.

“His performances over the last couple of games will have enhanced that.

“Like with Shola Ameobi (who also joined Town last month), Wes coming into the side has added another dimension to our play.

“Let’s hope can score a couple more goals and gets a few more assists.”