Double vote of confidence for keeper

DAVID CUFFLEY City goalkeeper Paul Gallacher has been handed a double vote of confidence - despite manager Peter Grant's plans to extend Jamie Ashdown's loan spell for a further month.

DAVID CUFFLEY

City goalkeeper Paul Gallacher has been handed a double vote of confidence - despite manager Peter Grant's plans to extend Jamie Ashdown's loan spell for a further month.

The 27-year-old has earned another international call-up, and was given a glowing reference from Grant before today's Coca-Cola Championship trip to West Bromwich Albion.

Gallacher has been called up for the Scotland B squad to face the Republic of Ireland at Dalymount Park, Dublin, on Tuesday (7.30pm), giving him another chance to strengthen his claims for a recall to the full international squad.


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He has also been praised by Grant, who preferred him to on-loan Jamie Ashdown for last week's home game against Sunderland, where he responded with a clean sheet - having been left out against Cardiff and Stoke, when Ashdown was given the job.

Said Grant: “Paul had done nothing wrong and I said that to him from the start. Every game he's played, he's done terrific. I was delighted for him in the Colchester game, when he made two great saves for us, and he made a good save last week against Connolly early in the Sunderland game, which was very important - that's why he stays in the side.”

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Gallacher was selected for Walter Smith's last full Scotland squad, which saw the Tartan Army defeat France and then lose to the Ukraine in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Mark Brown from Caledonian Thistle joins Gallacher as the other goalkeeper in the B squad for the match against the Republic.

Grant admitted, however, that he would be trying to extend Ashdown's loan at the end of his month at Carrow Road.

“I think Jamie Ashdown's a top goalkeeper and will be a top goalkeeper, there's no doubt in my mind about that,” said Grant.

Ashdown endured mixed fortunes with a clean sheet in the 1-0 win against Cardiff but a red card in the 5-0 defeat at Stoke, followed by a one-match ban.

“I just felt maybe a wee change of voice would be a helping hand. Jamie didn't do that, he understands that and he came in and said it's probably the worst he's played in two years and I can vouch for that because I've been watching him for the last two years. So I wasn't happy and he wasn't happy, which was more important - he understood that.

“I'll be trying to extend the loan. He's desperate to stay if Harry Redknapp allows that. Harry was very conscious of letting him out because he sees him as his number two behind David James but he just felt he needed games because he broke his finger. If I can extend Jamie's loan, I will.”

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