Gallacher goes that extra mile for match
DAVID CUFFLEY Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher has revealed how he drove through the night to Scotland in the hope of playing a first-team game at the weekend. The Norwich City 'keeper took the high road on Friday evening after agreeing to join Dunfermline on loan, so that he could take part in Saturday's training session with the Pars.
Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher has revealed how he drove through the night to Scotland in the hope of playing a first-team game at the weekend.
The Norwich City 'keeper took the high road on Friday evening after agreeing to join Dunfermline on loan, so that he could take part in Saturday's training session with the Pars.
But his desperate dash north of the border proved in vain when the Scottish Division One club failed to get international clearance in time for Gallacher to play in Sunday's league match at Livingston, where they secured their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw.
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However, the 28-year-old Scotland international's loan deal runs until January 2 - and he is determined to grab his chance of senior football.
He said: “I drove up through the night on Friday and arrived Saturday morning, trained with them on Saturday and was at the game on Sunday.
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“I got the call about 5.20pm on Friday, and we had everything packed in the car at seven o'clock. I arrived at 5.15am at my parents' house at Paisley. I had an hour and half's sleep and was up at 7am.
“I went and trained with the lads and I was just desperate to play football again. It was disappointing after such an effort to get up here that they couldn't get hold of the FA in time to get clearance.
“But it's great to be part of the squad here. To be in the first team squad and in contention makes you feel wanted again. It would be brilliant just to get games.”
Gallacher started last season as Nigel Worthington's first choice at Carrow Road but was dropped three times after Peter Grant took over as manager - Grant used five 'keepers in all - and his place in the pecking order was all too obvious after the arrival of David Marshall and Matthew Gilks during the summer.
“Of course it's been difficult. You want to be playing games and you are training every day, then come Friday you are not involved,” said Gallacher.
“My contract is up in the summer and I can't see it being renewed at Norwich. The manager has made it clear to me that I can move on.
“It's all turned round since a year ago but the support has been fantastic. But if a new manager's mind is made up about you, there is nothing you can do. I just have to get my head up, see where this leads and hopefully I will get my chance. The situation here is that they have one fit goalkeeper.”
Dunfermline boss Stephen Kenny was plunged into a crisis when 'keeper Roddy McKenzie was injured during Thursday's UEFA Cup tie at home to Swedish club Hacken. An error by his replacement, Sean Murdoch, handed the Swedes a 1-1 draw, though Murdoch had a better match against Livingston.
Kenny said: “Paul was available on loan and it was a good opportunity to get him. We didn't have international clearance to play him on Sunday but I just wanted to make sure that we had two goalkeepers.
“If Sean was to get injured in training or sick or anything we would have no goalkeepers. You think with three that you have enough but Paul will be a good signing. We are lucky to get someone as experienced as that.
“We had the situation where we had Neil Inglis, our goalkeeping coach, on the bench on Sunday. The other goalkeeper we have, Greg Paterson, has a broken finger and will be out for a while because he needs an operation on it. Roddy McKenzie, with his thigh injury, you just never know with his kicking, just how long he will be out with that. The injury is bad enough but could be a recurring injury. It is a very hard one to get right for a goalkeeper. We needed to make sure that we signed a goalkeeper because we only had one.”
Gallacher, who has made 36 appearances for City after waiting nearly two years for his debut, said a permanent deal had not been discussed with Dunfermline, but he is determined to be more than just goalkeeping cover at East End Park.
He said: “When I got in that dressing room there were only about three boys I didn't know. It's unbelievable. I played with some of them at Dundee United or I know them from playing in the Scottish Premier League.
“They have a strong squad and if they can get on a little run they should be challenging for promotion.
“It's been a terrible start for the calibre of players here, but after being relegated from the Scottish Premier League last season, trying to get back up is not easy. Patience is the name of the game.
“It's the same at Norwich. A new manager is building a squad and Norwich should do well enough.”