Fleetwood keeper Chris couldn’t resist Championship chance

Chris Maxwell
Chris Maxwell
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Fleetwood Town keeper Chris Maxwell says he is leaving the club for the chance to make a name for himself in the Championship at Preston North End.

The Welsh shot-stopper’s contract runs out on July 1 and he has opted to make the leap from League One to fight for a chance to play week in, week out in the Championship at Deepdale.

The keeper has made his ambitions to play for the Welsh national side clear during his four-year stint at Highbury.

He has been watched several times by national team boss Chris Coleman this season and is on stand-by for Euro 2016 – but the opportunity to play at a higher level could pave the way for a full international call-up.

The 25-year-old says the move is a fantastic opportunity and one he could not turn down.

Maxwell said: “Once I found out that Preston were interested in me, I spoke to their manager (Simon Grayson) and their goalkeeping coach (Alan Kelly) . Everything they said was really positive.

“Preston is a massive club. The fanbase and history speak volumes.

“The manager and his staff are very experienced and it will be great to work with them.

“It’s an exciting chance to play in the Championship with a team who did very well in their first season after promotion.

“I didn’t really have to think twice when Preston offered me the chance to sign.”

The keeper has been an ever-present with Fleetwood for the last two seasons and made 124 consecutive appearances, making a number of crucial saves to help Town retain their League One status with a victory over Crewe Alexandra on the final day of the campaign at Highbury.

That was to be his final appearance in front of the Cod Army and he revealed last week on social media that he would be leaving the club he had joined from Wrexham.

It was rumoured that he was either going to Deepdale or fellow Championship club Huddersfield Town.

Maxwell has not revealed whether he was approached by Huddersfield.

But St Asaph-born Maxwell, who made 78 appearances for Wrexham, is overjoyed to be stepping up a division.

He joined Fleetwood in the summer of 2012 but had to wait 18 months to make his debut.

He had loan spells back at Wrexham and with Cambridge United, before playing for Fleetwood for the first time in a 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers February 2014.

He went on to be part of the team that won promotion that season, beating Burton Albion in the League Two play-off final at Wembley.

The keeper says he thoroughly enjoyed his time at Highbury but that is ready for a new challenge and to battle it out to be Preston’s number one.

He said: “I spent four years at Fleetwood and had a fantastic time there. In that time, they got promoted to League One. I played at Deepdale against Preston (when Town lost 3-2 in October 2014).

“While it wasn’t the ideal result for me at the time, it was a fantastic experience.

“I have thanked the Fleetwood supporters and staff through Twitter. Now I’m focused on Preston.

“The challenge of battling to be number at Preston excites me.

“It is something I want to try to achieve and I’ll be working hard day in, day out. Making this move provides a fantastic opportunity.”

And Fleetwood in turn thanked Maxwell, who has just been crowned Community Trust player of the year for his contribution to the club.

A club spokesman said: “Fleetwood Town would like to thank Chris for his fantastic contribution and we wish him every success in the future.”