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Cherries: Jalal looking to stay top of the pecking order
SHWAN Jalal is determined to retain the Cherries goalkeeping jersey and insists: I will never take it for granted.
Recalled stopper Jalal has extra motivation to keep his place in the starting line-up – because he knows how it feels to watch from the sidelines.
Boss Eddie Howe drafted in Jalal for his first League One start since September when he replaced David James for Cherries’ victory at Hartlepool on Tuesday night.
The 29-year-old is fully aware how quickly fortunes can change after experiencing both sides of selection decisions with Cherries in recent seasons, having previously lost his shirt to Darryl Flahavan and then James.
But resilient Jalal intends to use those painful memories as a driving factor in his bid to fend off hot competition from James, highly-rated new recruit Ryan Allsop, Flahavan and Benjamin Buchel.
The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee told the Daily Echo: “I can take heart from the fact I have had knockbacks but I have come back, worked hard and kept my head down.
“It has not always been plain sailing and it has tested me in terms of mentality. But, luckily enough, I have had Mossy (Neil Moss, goalkeeping coach) and my family driving me on.
“It is something I will never take for granted because this club is going places and there is always somebody there to step into your boots if you are not doing it right.
“This club is ambitious. It is going to be looking for a certain calibre of player so it is up to me to keep my place and make the spot hard to regain for anybody else.
“But, most of all, I want to enjoy my football, enjoy playing at Dean Court and being part of the team.”
Discussing his time out of the team, Jalal added: “It has been a test of character.
“I just had to go back to the drawing board and wait for my chance. Now I have got it, hopefully I will take it. I am determined to take it and looking forward to each game.”
Jalal’s return to Cherries’ league team came after he had impressed in the FA Cup third round defeat against Wigan. It also followed Cherries’ first third tier defeat since Howe’s appointment at Walsall on Saturday.
Speaking after the 2-1 victory over Hartlepool, Howe said: “I thought Shwan was excellent. I was very pleased with him on his return to the side.
“David is still very much part of our squad and will be going forward. He is very much a team player and very much wants us to achieve our goal of promotion.
“Sometimes, you have to make difficult decisions but it has been done with the best intentions.”