Stoke City have quickly turned to former Preston North End and Liverpool keeper Andy Lonergan after Niki Maenpaa – brought in to ease an injury crisis – was ruled out himself with injuy.
Maenpaa had joined Stoke as a free agent on a short-term at the end of last week and joined in training with Joe Bursik, Blondy Nna Noukeu and youth recruit Robbie Hemfrey.
But now the 35-year-old is expected to be ruled out for several weeks with what is believed to be a nasty thumb injury, joining Adam Davies (knee) and Angus Gunn (ankle) in the treatment room, as well as 18-year-old Nathan Broome, who has damaged his shoulder.
So Michael O’Neill made a move yesterday for Lonergan, the 37-year-old who spent last season as back-up at Anfield – and was handed a Premier League winner’s medal by Jurgen Klopp – and he is expected to be with the Stoke squad at Wycombe this evening (7.45pm).
Lonergan told the Liverpool Echo recently: “James Milner said to me when lifting the trophy, ‘People don’t understand the role a reserve goalkeeper plays’.
“If you’re a bad egg, you can really ruin the dressing room if you think should be playing in the first team and toss training off.
“But that was never my intention, I would never do that anywhere regardless of where I was. I’d train 100 per cent everyday and try and make a good impression on the staff and the lads. To hear them saying nice things about me is great.
“Winning the league is something I’ve got to my name now, regardless of not kicking a ball. It sounds nice. It’s a great experience and something I’m pretty proud of.
“He (Jurgen Klopp) gave me one (a winner’s medal). He gave me one in the dressing room. I’m happy to get one and I’m happy how he did it because getting one on the stage would have been embarrassing, it really would!
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, even after his comments. I wasn’t expecting to get one. He just came up to me and said, ‘There you go, you deserve it.’ It’s a great moment really.”