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Cherries: Groves assessing keeper choices
MANAGER Paul Groves has told Cherries’ goalkeeping rivals to make his life difficult by urging: Prove you are the number one.
The battle to be named the top stopper at Dean Court again looks set to be a fierce debating point during Cherries’ warm-up campaign.
Last season’s regular first choice Darryl Flahavan will be competing with Shwan Jalal in a bid to claim the jersey ahead of the new season.
Former boss Lee Bradbury received criticism from fans loyal to Jalal when he opted to pick Flahavan between the sticks last term.
A mainstay of Cherries’ play-off near miss and the 2009-10 promotion campaign, Jalal was dropped in favour of his fellow keeper after there had been little to separate the duo during pre-season.
Jalal, who declined two contract offers from Cherries in the lead up to last season, was brought back into the side by then-caretaker manager Groves for the final two games of last term, having had an operation to cure a long-standing back problem in February.
Having now succeeded Bradbury on a permanent basis, one of the big decisions facing Groves surrounds the goalkeeping position.
Groves is yet to make his choice but is expecting a close contest when the experienced pair battle for the place.
The Cherries manager told the Daily Echo: “We see competition for places and two experienced goalkeepers that will be competing for the one spot.
“That is healthy and that is what you want in all the positions – quality players fighting for the one place.
“Competition for places has got to be healthy and I feel that is what is needed to be able to take the team forward.”
Groves added: “I have seen two games with Jal and six with Flavs, and I have seen them both in training.
“They have both got good qualities, good experience, they are both good trainers and they are both very professional.
“In that department, we have got two good goalkeepers fighting for the place and it is going to be down to them.
“It is down to them to make that decision very difficult. But that is what you want.
“You want those types of decisions rather than the decision being made for you because you have only got one and don’t have any choice.”
Flahavan made 48 starts last season while Jalal was restricted to just two starts in League One and six appearances in total.