BURTON Albion boss Gary Rowett has brought goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson back to the Pirelli Stadium in a surprise move.
The former Crewe Alexandra and Port Vale player has signed a four-month deal with the Brewers and looks set to play for them in tomorrow’s League Two game at Rochdale, kick-off 3pm.
Tomlinson is expected to jump above on-loan Derby County keeper Ross Atkins and inexperienced summer signing Dean Lyness in the pecking order as Rowett tries to resolve what is perceived to be a problem position.
The Brewers boss said: “I just felt we needed a little bit more presence and size at this moment in time.”
Tomlinson, 27, was a free agent after deciding to leave Vale Park in the summer and joins Albion for the third time in his career.
He spent the pre-season of 2006 with the Brewers but a proposed season-long loan from Crewe fell through and resulted in Albion signing Kevin Poole, who is now the club’s goalkeeper coach.
Tomlinson also made one appearance on loan in 2008 — and will now be hoping for third time lucky as he tries to nail down a regular place in the team.
He said: “I got a call last week from Gaz (Rowett) and spoke to him before coming in to do a few days’ training.
“It’s nice to have sorted something out. It’s only a short term deal but it’s an opportunity for me.
“It’s been tricky over the summer. Obviously leaving Port Vale was a decision I made mainly to do with them being in administration.
“I ended up going on trial at Preston and playing a game for them, but now I’m looking forward to doing well for Burton.
“I’m fully aware that Ross and Dean are here. I’ve been training with them and they’re very good goalkeepers who have similar styles.
“I’ve come in to provide competition. Maybe I’m a bit different in terms of being be a bit more aggressive, I don’t know.
“If I can impress the lads and impress the manager then maybe we can work something out (long term) but it’s a long time until Christmas so I won’t count my chickens.”
Rowett said: “Stuart’s a keeper I’ve always liked when we’ve played against him at Port Vale. He’s big, strong and a real commanding presence back there.
“We were aware of him early on and I had a couple of calls from his agent to see if we would be interested.
“Now we’re getting into the season, I feel he’s the right type of keeper to add to what we already have.
“Tommo will come in and add some real competition there. I thought Dean did particularly well (at Coventry in midweek) but he’s one we have earmarked for the future, and I just feel perhaps at this moment in time this will give us the opportunity to get him out (on loan) and get him some regular games.
“I want to see him (Tomlinson) grasp the opportunity if he gets the chance and on show us what he’s all about, to be a presence behind the back four and to organise the back four. I want him to be a real strong character back there.
“Ross has done well and made some good saves, particularly at Sheffield United and Leicester he made some outstanding saves.
“Sometimes occasionally it would be nice to have that presence there at a set piece to come and knock someone out the way and catch it and add a bit more experience in there.”
“I’ve not made the decision yet (If Tomlinson will start against Rochdale) but what I will say is that if I bring someone in then they are up for a chance of playing, certainly.”
Atkins will stay with the Brewers until the end of the year under the terms of his loan deal from Pride Park.