Price hopes to make most of opportunity
LEWIS Price is ready to seize the week and give Blues boss Joe Royle a more pleasurable goalkeeping conundrum after being told he will be the only keeper going on the pre-season tour to Sweden next week.
LEWIS Price is ready to seize the week and give Blues boss Joe Royle a more pleasurable goalkeeping conundrum after being told he will be the only keeper going on the pre-season tour to Sweden next week, writes Derek Davis.
Price, who will be 19 midway through the week-long trip to Scandinavia, has been given the nod ahead of the more experienced Andy Marshall and Matteo Sereni.
Price told me last night: "This is a great opportunity for me. I know it will be a tough task but I'm looking forward to the challenge."
With Sereni hoping to complete a move to Lazio in the next few days and interest from a couple of clubs in Marshall possibly meaning him moving on soon, Lewis is seen as the longer-term prospect. It is no secret Royle will look to land a senior keeper as soon as possible once the Italian has been sold.
Price is realistic enough to know he is unlikely to be the No. 1 come August 9 but he hopes to give Royle plenty to think about.
He said: "I'm pretty sure the manager will have brought another keeper in by then but all I can do is play the best I can."
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The Welsh under-19 international is currently on a coaching course in Staffordshire with Town contingent Marshall, James Pullen, Scott Peat and Shane Suple, being taken by Malcolm Webster and involving more than 50 other professional keepers.
He added: "The lads have been brilliant, especially Andy, who has been fantastic to me, helping me and encouraging me."
The 19-man squad also includes teenagers Aidan Collins, Antonio Murray, Gerard Nash and Ian Westlake, while Darren Bent is a relatively old hand even though he is still just 19.
England under-19 midfielder Matt Bloomfield would have had a good chance of being included but he is coming back from a cruciate ligament injury.
Also missing is 18-year-old Matt Richards who has a hamstring pull and will not be risked, and veteran defender John McGreal, who is still working his way back to fitness after another knee operation.
Town travel to Roots Hall on Tuesday and then fly out on Wednesday with Swedish Division Two leaders Mjallby their first opponents on Friday.
The squad nips across to Denmark to play Helsingor on Sunday and return to meet hosts Trelleborg, who play in the Superetten, which is a league behind the Allesvensken, which is akin to the English Premier League.
The squad will complete a punishing 10-day training period with ball work at the training ground today after a session at Holbrook yesterday which included swimming and running.