The goalkeeper debate

The recent extension and good form of on loan keeper Alex McCarthy has created a fierce debate between Leeds fans.

Andy Lonergan or Alex McCarthy?

Unlike some debates between Leeds fans this one has seen some intelligent, well thought out opinions. But as intelligent as they may be I just can't agree with them.

The conversations I've had differ from those I've overheard or seen via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The general consensus from fans is that they've forgotten about our semi-injured goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. That Lonergan who everyone loved at the start of the season. That Lonergan who was the man-of-the-match on a few occasions. That Lonergan who is only out of the team due to a finger injury.

Despite all the praise and positivity with the former Preston stopper, some fans seem to have forgotten Lonergan's early brilliance due to the arrival of Alex McCarthy.

In six games for the club McCarthy has impressed with three clean sheets as well as a penalty save on Saturday to keep the Whites in the game against Watford. But as much as he's impressed fans and admirers, I just can't seem to accept that McCarthy will be No.1 over a fully fit Lonergan.

McCarthy is a young, ambitious keeper who has a big future within the game. His shot-stopping is solid and he commands his box very well, with the only real weakness being that his kicking is poor at times. However the on-loan Reading man is just that on loan and many fans believe that McCarthy is a realistic signing. Ahhhh the frustration. Leeds don't spend money on players very often, and when they do it's usually a small fee compared to the mega bucks we see from rivals and the Premier League. Yet the fickle fans forget this and believe somehow that McCarthy would be available on the cheap.

Yes McCarthy is a second choice keeper at a Championship club, but as an under-21 international he isn't going to be available on the cheap. Reading seem to be doing Leeds a favour, at the same time of getting their player match practice.

Although it may seem like I don't like McCarthy that couldn't be further from the truth. When Leeds signed him I was pleased especially after he impressed and ensured Reading left with a point at Elland Road last year. I would also like to thank him for his performances and nice comments about the club. But for me Andy Lonergan is the No.1 keeper at Leeds and it shouldn't change, despite the obvious headache for Mr Grayson.

Follow Leedstheoffside/Ciaran on Twitter and on Facebook.

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