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Alec still has the desire and the talent to stay in contention for a first team place

10 May 2005

Goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain hopes his recent return to Championship action will not be the last time Watford supporters see him in first team action.

Alec, who turns 41 next month, says he has "thoroughly enjoyed" be in the firing line again, and remains as enthusiastic as ever about playing in the first team next season.

"After keeping three clean sheets and not playing on a losing side, it was disappointing to end the season conceding two goals and being beaten by West Ham," said Alec. "They obviously had something to play for and were really fired up, but we finished strongly and I felt we could have got a draw out of the game.

"From a personal point of view, Ferdinand's goal was a good one, he struck the ball well, and it was helped on its way by a deflection, but after nearly three and a half games without conceding, it was a disappointment to see it go in. The second goal was a penalty, and Marlon Harewood struck it well, but I didn't think 2-nil - as it then was - reflected the story of the game at that point."

But the highlight of the game for Alec was a superb save he made from Harewood in the first half, with the score still goalless. It proved that, at 40, Alec was still as sharp as ever.

"Yes, I must admit, I was pleased with that, but that's what I'm there for," he said. "I've never doubted I still have the ability to compete for a first team place, but obviously making a save like that is very satisfying, and hopefully blows away any doubts anyone may have about a 40 year old being in goal."

Alec has been combining his playing duties with his new role as Watford's goalkeeping coach - a role he looks forward to continuing next season. He says: "I have another year's playing contract, which is really pleasing, and I hope I can continue to keep Richard Lee on his toes, but I'm really enjoying the coaching and am looking forward to further establishing that role over the next 12 months.

"I love playing, and as long as I think I'm capable of doing a job then I want to carry on being a member of the squad, but at the same time, I want to help Richard's game, and also bring on the goalkeepers of the future - help the manager find a young 'keeper who can start challenging for a place in the squad, but more importantly challenging me and Richard for a place in the first team."

Meanwhile, Alec is preparing for a short break before getting to work on putting the finishing touches to his Testimonial match against Premiership Charlton at Vicarage Road on July 30.

"There's a lot to do, but I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "I'm pleased that the game is going to provide a big test for us - and hopefully, for them - ahead of the new season.

"I'm sure Charlton will have a lot to prove in the countdown to the new season, because they've had a disappointing end to this campaign by the high standards they've set themselves over the past few years, and because of that they'll be looking to bounce back once the new season gets underway."

Written by Peter Jones, of the PR consultancy Red Alert Media.

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