Cairns yearns to remain number one at Highbury

Alex Cairns in action at Shrewsbury
Alex Cairns in action at Shrewsbury
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It took him a long time to get his shot at first-team football and now Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns is determined to keep hold of the No.1 shirt.

When Chris Maxwell made the switch to Preston in the summer, Town brought in Cairns from Rotherham and Chris Neal from Port Vale.

Neal started the season as first choice but Cairns got his chance in last month’s FA Cup replay win over Southport and has kept the gloves ever since.

He then made his first ever League start in the 2-1 win over Chesterfield and has stayed between the sticks for the three games since.

Cairns said: “I’m absolutely loving it. It is my first real stint in the first team and now I’m trying to cement my place.

“I’ve still got a long way to go but I’m just going to keep ticking off one game at a time.

“It is an awful thing when you are always sat there waiting for your chance but when that chance comes you have to take it. I will do everything I can to keep my place.”

The 23-year-old’s only previous taste of league football was as a substitute in Leeds’ 5-0 Championship defeat by Blackpool in 2011.

He was loaned from Leeds to non-league Barrow and Stalybridge, then moved on to Chesterfield and Rotherham without getting a kick at either club.

Having switched to the Fylde coast in the summer and bided his time, Cairns is keen to repay Town head coach Uwe Rosler’s faith in him. He said: “It has taken me a long time. I’ve made a couple of moves to different clubs hoping to get the chance.

“It has not quite happened for me but I’ve come here. The gaffer has believed in me and told me to keep working hard and that I would get my chance – and so it has proved.”

Now Cairns is preparing for Saturday’s visit of Walsall, a side he says have similar qualities to Fleetwood after switching to Town’s preferred 3-5-2 wing-back formation to defeat third-placed Sheffield United 1-0 in their last match.

He said: “We watched Walsall against Sheffield United. They play a very similar system to us, and they are like us in that they are trying to win as many games as possible. That is what we are doing.”