ANDY Lonergan has been challenged to rise to the occasion as Dougie Freedman prepares to stand by him for today’s crucial clash against Bournemouth.
Since being proclaimed as Wanderers’ number one a few weeks ago, Lonergan has suffered the ignominy of conceding seven goals at Reading and making high-profile errors against Cardiff City in the FA Cup and Ipswich Town in the league.
But Freedman is keeping faith with the former Leeds stopper and is preparing to name him in goal this afternoon at the Reebok for a game many feel he cannot afford to lose.
“There have been some difficult moments for Andy but I’ve got confidence in him,” he said. “His dozen performances before all this have been very good.
“He sums up where we are as a club – you either stand up and be counted, or bury your head in the sand. This is what football throws at you. It’s a challenge for Andy Lonergan right now to see how he responds to the mistakes he’s made.”
Adam Bogdan spoke in the Hungarian press in midweek, announcing his desire to get back involved in first team matters for the first time since a knee injury ruled him out for three months in October.
He also hinted that he would be discussing his long-term future at Wanderers at the end of the season, leading some to speculate that he could be angling to leave the club.
Freedman was unconcerned by the player’s comments and expects him to continue challenging Lonergan for a first team spot.
“I think everyone reviews their position in the summer – players, agents talk and reflect on what they’ve done,” he said.
“Adam’s right to say he wants his place back. I don’t want anyone satisfied with being a number two.
“He trains hard every day and he is fighting for it.
“But I have got to show some loyalty. I have got to show players when they get their chance, they get it.
“I can only pick one of them and if you don’t perform or get results, you know what’s coming.
“It is a challenge for Adam and he needs to make sure he’s ready if and when he gets called.”