YOUNG Trinity stopper Michael Emery has welcomed the competition for places, with regular keepers Phil Barnes and Andrew Pettinger nearing a return to full fitness.
The 21-year-old signed from Skegness Town on a short term deal until the end of the season and has featured in the Blues’ last five games since the departure of Grimsby Town loanee Kenny Arthur.
And Emery, who became the sixth player this season to wear the number one jersey, has certainly given his manager Steve Housham plenty to think about with a string of impressive performances.
He admitted he was ‘thrown in at the deep end’ on his debut against runaway league leaders Hyde, but managed to pass that test with an assured performance and a clean sheet.
Since then, Emery has kept out promotion hopefuls Altrincham and his last ditch save against Histon arguably sealed all three points for his side, after Andrew Boyce had netted a late winner. He told the Standard: “I’m really enjoying it; nobody really likes not playing and sitting in the stands or on the bench.”
“For the manager to put confidence in me after Kenny, who has played a lot of league games, I’m delighted just to be playing.”
“I was hoping to play but I know what I can do and what I am capable of.”
“I hadn’t played at that level since I was 18 playing in the Conference South for St Albans.”
“I thought Kenny might be there a lot longer but I’ve been working hard in training and the gaffer’s repaid me by giving me the games.”
Emery has been singled out for praise on numerous occasions by Housham, something he hopes will give the former Brigg boss a selection headache when he can call upon the services of both Barnes and Pettinger.
He added: “Barnesy was saying on Twitter about trying to get his shirt back but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
“It’s nicer when there are two or three keepers to work with during training and when there’s not others to train with it’s harder when it comes to playing on a Saturday.”
“It will be good competition and I want to keep my shirt so we’ll have to see how it goes.” Trinity have been short in the goalkeeping department since Barnes suffered a setback to his injury in the FA Cup at Telford, while Pettinger hasn’t played since the 6-1 win over Eastwood in October.
Housham brought in rookie Bulgarian stopper Dimitar Evmitov but a couple of sketchy performances culminated in his dismissal against Boston and skipper Gavin Cowan ended the match in goal Former Partick Thistle man Arthur donned the gloves before Emery’s arrival.
“I would definitely like to stay here longer now; there are a great set of lads here and they have all been very welcoming,” added the youngster.
“At first going into a club it can be a bit hard to settle in but once you’ve played a couple of games the lads start to take to you and they’ve made it really easy for me.”
Gainsborough face Gloucester on Saturday.