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Bialkowski to Bentley plus a Barry or two – a look at some of the EFL's goalkeepers' union

22 September 2016

“Fairly certain that if Bartosz Bialkowski was alive in 1912 he'd have saved the Titanic. #ITFC”

Ipswich Town fan Jack Prentice (@JPrentice8) is clearly happy with Bartosz Bialkowski's performances for the Tractor Boys this season, and that tweet got us thinking about goalkeepers.

Fairly certain that if Bartosz Bialkowski was alive in 1912 he'd have saved the Titanic #itfc

— Jack Prentice 杰克普伦蒂斯 (@JPrentice8) September 13, 2016
So, we thought we'd take a look at some of the stoppers keeping guard in the EFL. From younger players making their way, to the experienced stoppers passing on their knowledge – here are 11 members of the EFL goalkeepers' union...

Adam Smith (Northampton Town)

The Sunderland-born goalkeeper, 23, who signed a two-year deal with Northampton Town in 2015, was one of just two players to feature in every minute of the Cobblers' recent 31-game unbeaten run.  

His fine shot-stopping has earned him a number of accolades over the last year, including being featured in the Football Manager Team of the Season at the EFL Awards, as well as helping to crown Northampton as champions of Sky Bet League Two last year.

Danny Ward (Huddersfield Town, on loan from Liverpool)

On loan at Huddersfield Town from Liverpool, 23-year-old Danny Ward has three full international caps under his belt for Wales and is currently staking a fine claim for future consideration.

Performances this season have seen him concede just six goals in eight league appearances with two clean sheets to bolster his record.

Featured as the EFL's Goalkeeper of the Week back in August, Ward has put in a number of excellent performances to help take David Wagner's team to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.

Read more: Danny Ward named in EFL Team of the Week

Daniel Bentley (Brentford)

Despite only recently turning 23, Daniel Bentley is certainly not a new kid on the block in the EFL, with more than 130 appearances since 2013 for his former club Southend United.  

He has picked up a multitude of awards and recognition over the past couple of seasons, from winning the EFL Young Player of the Month in April 2015 to making the PFA Team of the Year in the same season.  

In the summer of 2016, he made the switch to Sky Bet Championship club Brentford, where he has played all 720 minutes so far this season with four clean sheets to his name.

That save from @dan_bentley1 though... 😱🔥

— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) August 17, 2016

Simon Eastwood (Oxford United)

A strong turn of performances since the start of the season has seen Oxford United shot-stopper Simon Eastwood keep three successive clean sheets for the U's, including notably against fierce rivals Swindon Town.  

This is the 27-year-old's second spell with the Sky Bet League One club, after failing to make an appearance back in 2011, when he was released with a year left on his contract. 

His confident and imperious style has played an imperative part in his form so far this season and Oxford United fans will be hoping this can continue as they find their feet in the third tier.

Please appreciate what @sieastwood1 brings to the team I would bet on him saving a 1on1 every time the best keeper ever to play at the kass!

— Harry Callaghan (@HarryCallaghan_) September 10, 2016

Mark Howard (Bolton Wanderers)

Bolton Wanderers were undefeated in their opening seven games of Sky Bet League One this season and a lot of thanks for this can go to recent Sky Bet EFL Team of the Week goalkeeper Mark Howard.

A combination of impressive stops for the Trotters, including a penalty save against Milton Keynes Dons, has reaffirmed his position as Phil Parkinson's first-choice goalkeeper, and the 29-year-old stopper will be eyeing up a promotion to the Sky Bet Championship as a very viable opportunity based on current form.

Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town)

The man who inspired this feature, and another goalkeeper who has already picked up four clean sheets this season – it's Bartosz Bialkowski.

An experienced head within the Ipswich side, the form that won him consecutive Player of the Month awards last season, as well as Players' Player of the Year, has crossed through into the current campaign. He's averaging less than one goal conceded per game so far for an Ipswich Town side that, despite sitting 11th in the Sky Bet Championship, are just three points adrift of third place.

Finally, the Players' Player of the Season award goes to... Bartosz Bialkowski. Congratulations @1BartMan1!

— Ipswich Town FC (@Official_ITFC) May 3, 2016

David Stockdale (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Having turned 31 earlier this week, David Stockdale is certainly a goalkeeper of experience, starting out in the early 2000s at York City.

Having narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight last time around, Stockdale has seemingly started the 2016/17 season with a desire to pick up on last season's form after three clean sheets, despite an injury scare in the second game of the term.

Got to say if Claudio Bravo is meant to be the best keeper is the world with his feet. Then they not seen @stockogk1313 this guys feet 🔥

— Bobby Zamora (@RobertZamora25) September 10, 2016

Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)

Keiren Westwood deservedly received plaudits after a sublime performance in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final last year, even if his Sheffield Wednesday side lost 1-0 to Hull City.

His fame was not the result of overnight success, though; he was named in the Sky Bet Championship PFA Team of the Year for the 2014/15 season and has made his name in the EFL with long spells at both Carlisle United and Coventry City, having been released by Manchester City as a youngster.

The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper has kept two clean sheets so far this season and has 19 international appearances since 2009.


Cristiano Ronaldo
Marco Reus
Zinedine Zidane
Pavel Nedved
Alessandro Del Piero
Kieren Westwood

— Chris Thompson (@HiddenChaos) August 17, 2016

As we approach half-time, it's the Kieren Westwood show. Fantastic display of goalkeeping to keep numerous Hull players at bay.

— Football On 5 (@FootballOn5) May 28, 2016

WHAT A SAVE Kieren Westwood. The @swfc goalkeeper brilliantly charges down Michael Dawson's shot 0-0 54mins #playofffinal

— Wembley Stadium (@wembleystadium) May 28, 2016

Can an individual player be promoted to the Premier League?Asking for a friend. That friend is Kieren Westwood #playofffinal#swfc#HullCity

— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) May 28, 2016

Barry Roche (Morecambe)

Barry Roche, 34, is part of the furniture at Morecambe. The 6”4' Irish stopper has made in excess of 300 appearances for the Shrimps since signing in 2008, and has started all eight of their games this term with two clean sheets to date. That form saw him nominated for August's Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award. 

Handed captaincy of the team in 2010, Roche even has a goal to his name after a last-gasp header from a corner in 2015/16.

Brian Jensen (Mansfield Town)

Despite not having made an appearance this side of September, Jensen started the first three games of Mansfield's Sky Bet League Two campaign, keeping a clean sheet in his first start of the term against Yeovil Town.

He also has a coaching role at the Stags, as well as being listed as their oldest player – another facet of experience to add to his 400+ career appearances.  His contract at Field Mill was extended at the end of the 2015/16 season.  

Good little article in The Football League paper 👍🏻

— Brian Jensen (@jensen_com) May 17, 2016

Barry Richardson (Wycombe Wanderers)

The list of clubs that current Wycombe Wanderers goalkeeper coach Barry Richardson can reel off as having played for over his 27 years of professional football is, simply put, mammoth. 
From Scarborough to Northampton Town and Preston North End, the 47-year-old has picked up an abundance of experience between the sticks and had to make this count last season. He was brought on as a substitute for the Chairboys against promotion-chasing Plymouth for his first game in 11 years.

Obviously, he kept a clean sheet.

A clean sheet for @bazricho1 against the team who have scored in every home game this season.

— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) January 30, 2016

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