DEAN Lyness says he is “loving it” at Burton Albion after emerging as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper over the last two months.
The 22-year-old custodian has played second fiddle to the likes of Ross Atkins, Stuart Tomlinson and Jordan Pickford over the past season-and-a-half, but has started the last 10 games for the Brewers – a run that coincides with the team’s current unbeaten stretch.
Lyness and the back four in front of him have kept seven clean sheets during that time, conceding just three goals, and the former Kidderminster Harriers man was quick to praise the team effort that had gone into the run.
“It’s not just the back five, it starts at the top of the pitch, as the whole XI,” he said. “When there’s an opportunity, the team really goes and tries to put them under pressure.
“Especially away from home we’ve done that, and got some good results.”
In the last three games, Albion have been especially dominant, and though they have not had many goals to show for it, their superiority has kept Lyness and co relatively untroubled.
After Wednesday’s blustery 0-0 draw away to Mansfield Town, he said: “I didn’t make a save again, and that’s three weekends in a row I’ve not been tested – it’s the way I like it.
“I’m loving it at the minute.
“I’ve got an opportunity, and I just want to make the most of it, taking it one game at a time.
“If I keep keeping clean sheets, then it’s going to be hard for the gaffer to leave me out.
“That’s all I’m focused on, keeping another clean sheet at Bournemouth.
“It’s different with it being in the FA Cup, but we’ll go there and have a go, and hopefully get something.
“I’d expect to be a little bit busier, but we’ve been pretty solid at the back recently, so you never know.”
The Birmingham-born keeper was also quick to praise goalkeeping coach Kevin Poole, who has provided back-up to Lyness on three occasions this season, aside from his primary role of helping the youngster’s development.
“Pooley has played at the top level, and there’s not many goalkeeping coaches you could learn more from, throughout the country,” he said.
“It’s a privilege to work with someone like Pooley, and that can only help me long term.”
Albion have played six games in 18 days over Christmas, but have barely needed to change the team, and Lyness said: “That fitness comes from pre-season, when you work hard.
“All the lads have got a great attitude, and great determination when we do our fitness drills.
“You can see we’re reaping the rewards on a Saturday, when we start to put teams under real pressure in the last 15 minutes, whereas we don’t seem to be under that pressure ourselves.”
On current rival Benji Siegrist, who has yet to feature since being brought in on loan from Aston Villa, Lyness said: “Benji is a great lad and a talented keeper.
“We get on well in training, and he’s a great shot-stopper.
“It’s part of being a goalkeeper, that there’s one position and generally two or three fighting for it.
“He’s waiting for his chance and that keeps me performing – if I don’t perform, then I won’t play, so it’s good to have that competition.”