Following Scott Carson’s injury in the warm up against Charlton Athletic, Mike Pollitt’s first team role has increased with the experienced stopper being on hand over the past two weeks as Lee Nicholls took over the gloves.
A man of eight years’ worth of Latics experience Pollitt has seen it all with the club, but he admitted that the past week or so has been different, particularly with the journey he’s been on with the team, resulting in a Development Squad friendly on Tuesday against Blackburn Rovers.
“It’s been a strange week to go from Russia to Yeovil to Blackburn’s training ground, it was like the slam dunk on the head on Sunday when I was told I was needed again.
“It was good though, I want to bring myself across well as a professional in every game I play in so I took my role very seriously on Tuesday and I enjoyed the game.”
With Pollitt’s active first team role, his passion for cycling into work every morning has been punctured for a while he admits:
“Nobody was bothered the other week when we had another fit goalkeeper,” joked the 41-year-old.
“With Scott out I’ve got to be ready now and I can’t go on my bike to work.”
Quick-thinking as Pollitt (pictured) is, he says he’s soon found a solution to that problem:
“I do my pretend cycle to work in the gym instead, it’s a lot safer I suppose.
“One day I might get in before everyone else and put my helmet on in the gym, turn all the lights off and wear my high viz gear just to see what they all think.”
Pollitt went on to admit he may have to modify some of the equipment in the gym:
“I don’t know whether you can attach lights to the cycling machine, but it would be a good laugh.
“In all seriousness though, it keeps me ticking over and I really enjoy cycling because I’ve felt a lot sharper since I starting doing it and I don’t get any stiffness.
“I find myself getting in at 8 o’clock in the morning now and going in the gym before training starts to keep the same rhythm.”
Discussing the goalkeeping situation at the club despite injuries to Ali Al Habsi and Scott Carson, Pollitt says it’s the most competitive environment he’s been in during his career.
“Even through the years in the Premier League we never had a point when we had so many experienced goalkeepers and bright young ‘keepers as we have now.
“There had always been two or three of us, but there are four now which is quite unusual.
“There probably aren’t many teams in the Premier League that have got the depth we’ve got in the goalkeeping department, it’s a remarkable situation.”
Impressed by the impact Nicholls has had on the team since his introduction, Pollitt added:
“Lee has come in and taken his opportunity with three clean sheets, it’s been an outstanding start for him.
“I think his progression shows the competitiveness we’ve got, because even with two injuries there’s myself and Lee available to step in.
“We’re all good friends on the training ground, but essentially we’re vying for the same shirt and I’ve got to credit Lee for his hard work to get his chance.”
Tuesday’s Development Squad game saw Pollitt step in between the posts and add experience to a young Latics side, one which he was impressed with as they drew 1-1 with Blackburn.
“It was a nice little run out and it was good to get a game with the young lads just to share a bit of my experience with them.
“I think I was the last man standing that’s why I got called in to play because Marko (Marosi) got called up on international duty with Slovakia Under 21s.
“We had a strong back line with Ivan (Ramis) playing and then (Jordan) Mustoe and Adam Buxton who have been in and around the first team squad.
“Michael Wilson also played alongside Ivan in the centre and I was talking to him quite a lot just to help him along and he put in a very good performance.
“Sometimes it can be quite daunting for a young player to come into a defence at the side of somebody like Ivan and then myself behind in goal, so I tried to give Mike (Wilson) some confidence and he did very well.”
The game was full of drama as Latics took the lead from the penalty spot, before Pollitt saved a spot kick minutes later, but then saw a wicked deflection beat him for Rovers’ equaliser.
Describing those moments Pollitt said:
“It was a bit of a soft penalty, but fortunately I managed to save it and keep the score at 1-0.
“I was a little frustrated because I wanted to keep a clean sheet and they scored a really fortunate goal, the deflection on the shot killed me.
“He (Jordan Slew) cut inside and when he hit the shot I thought I had it covered, but it just whipped up off one of our lad’s legs and I just knew straight away it was going well over my head.
“The ball just bounced over me, it would have been some save for me to dive through the air and get back to save it such was the height on the deflection, it was just one of those ‘oh no’ moments.”
You can read the match report from Tuesday’s friendly against Blackburn by [clicking here].