ADAM Legzdins has vowed to battle for a first-team place at Derby County after his first appearance of the season on Saturday.
The 25-year-old former Burton Albion goalkeeper replaced Frank Fielding for the 0-0 draw with Brighton after the Rams No 1 suffered a groin injury.
Derby boss Nigel Clough has always backed Fielding as the club’s first-choice.
But he now faces a tough decision after an excellent showing from Legzdins came after Fielding was under-par against Middlesbrough, costing a goal at the Riverside Stadium in a 2-2 draw.
Legzdins insists he will challenge Fielding all the way and wants to stay at Pride Park and eventually become the club’s No1.
“From a selfish point of view I would like to play as many games as I can,” he said. “I want to push Frank and I’ve been open about that.
“It’s a few weeks until the next game and I’m just hoping I managed to do myself justice.
“It’s hard when you’re not playing games — reserve team games aren’t like first-team games.
“Not being in the team doesn’t change anything for me with preparation for the game
“It can be frustrating at times, but it benefits you when you get thrown in.
“You lose edge, but I still work hard and train as if I’m in the first-team.
“It was nice to have the butterflies back in my stomach on Saturday morning.”
Stafford-born Legzdins, who began his career with Crewe Alexandra, would rather stay at Derby than go out on loan to play games.
“I want to prove myself as a Derby player,” he said.
“If it (a loan) comes up, we will have to address it but I want to do everything I can to be in the Derby team.”
Legzdins looked solid against Brighton as the Rams kept their second clean sheet of the week — and he is hungry for more.
“As a goalkeeper I love to keep clean sheets,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming for Frank and the rest of the back four - if it wasn’t for deflections and screamers they would have got one at home by now.
“I didn’t have a lot to do.
“The emphasis, though, is on keeping clean sheets.
“It’s about talking and keeping your concentration.
“I think we looked a solid unit against Brighton.
“They’re a good team and we knew we were up against it.”