Alfreton Town goalkeeper Phil Barnes has been lauded for his professionalism by club chairman Wayne Bradley.
The former Rotherham United, Blackpool and Sheffield United keeper was signed in the summer as the club’s number one, but, when the chance arose to bring Burnley’s Jon Stewart in on loan after just a month of the campaign, he found himself very unluckily out of the frame.
Bradley explained: “Phil had a decent start to the season with us, but, once pre-season target Stewart became available after a move to Gillingham collapsed, we had to go for the move.
“Jon had a hugely successful loan spell with us at the back end of last season where his efforts played a major part in keeping Alfreton in the Blue Square Bet Premier Division, and we would have been foolish not to have brought him back.
“For his part, Phil Barnes is a very good keeper who has done nothing wrong at all. And having lost his place, it would have been all too easy to go out on loan just to get a game somewhere, but he has chosen to stay with us and carry on training and he is to be patted on the back for his professionalism.”
Barnes admitted that he is quite happy to stay and fight for his place.
“I had only been here a month when Jon arrived but I want to stay and fight for the number one shirt. I want to knuckle down, keep fit and prove myself” he said.
“We have a great bunch of lads, training is great and I am probably fitter now than at any time in the last few years. I am happy to fight for my place rather than just go out for the sake of it” explained Barnes.
The Reds saw their scheduled midweek game at last season’s Conference North champions Hyde FC on Tuesday night fall to a postponement with the Ewen Fields playing surface waterlogged following over a day of heavy rain prior to the fixture.
This Saturday, Alfreton have the chance to extend their unbeaten league run to five games when they are at home to Braintree Town in Blue Square Bet Premier Division action.
Alan Devonshire’s side arrive one place better off than the Reds in 16th but on the same points total of 12. They have already won twice on the road this season and the Iron recorded a 1-0 win at the Impact Arena on September 10 last season thanks to an 18th minute Chib Chilaka goal.
There will be no segregation for this fixture, although visiting supporters are requested to enter the Impact Arena via the away turnstiles at the Alma Street end of the ground. Kick-off is 3pm.