Town keeper wants no goal-den return for Davies

Fleetwood Town's Alex Cairns
Fleetwood Town's Alex Cairns
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Fleetwood Town’s king of clean sheets, Alex Cairns, knows there is one player he does not want scoring against him when they meet Preston North End tonight.

Former Town loanee Ben Davies could face them this evening if he shakes off a knock which saw him miss their midweek defeat against Burnley.

However, Cairns is determined not to let the defender, who played in Town’s run to the play-offs last season, mark any return with a goal.

Cairns laughed: “I won’t be wanting him (Ben) to score past me, he will never let me live it down!

“But we are looking forward to the game and the season ahead.

“Ben is a great lad and a great player, it will be nice to see him but as soon as we got on the pitch it is business.

“We will try and get the win I’m sure of it!”

Cairns has built on last term’s haul of clean sheets in pre-season as the 24-year-old is yet to concede in 220 minutes during appearances against Queen of the South, Karlsruher SC, FK Jablonec and Bolton Wanderers.

He was one of many first team regulars who missed the 3-1 midweek defeat to National League side Tranmere Rovers but is ready for the final warm-up game before meeting Rotherham United on the opening day.

Davies will not be the only familiar face returning to the Fylde coast with former hotshot Tom Barkhuizen joining another ex-Town man and 2014-15 player of the season, Chris Maxwell.

North End’s current number one, Maxwell’s summer exit in 2016 paved the way for Cairns’ arrival at Highbury from Rotherham.

Like Cairns, Maxwell was not first choice at the start of last season at the Championship club but soon usurped Anders Lindegaard and finished the season between the sticks.

North End have strengthened in their shot-stopping department after recruiting Declan Rudd.

However, with the former Norwich City man currently sidelined by a thigh injury, Maxwell is on course to start on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale.

Cairns had to be more patient in achieving his first Football League start against Chesterfield in November of last season but he racked up 20 clean sheets by the end of the season.

Despite that fine record though, and his series of shutouts so far this pre-season, the keeper refuses to get carried away by his personal achievements.

He said: “I’m not reading too much into that, I’m still taking every game as it comes.

“It is always nice to keep a clean sheet; it does not matter how they come as long as I can keep doing my job for the team.”