MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett held talks with Frank Fielding over his future – before handing the goalkeeper his first start in almost a year-and-a-half last weekend.
Fielding, 32, had played just 43 minutes of senior competitive action in 525 days before he kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win at Boreham Wood (above) last Saturday.
It was his first appearance after he had torn his quad on his debut against Preston in August 2019, following his move from Bristol City.
Former England call-up Fielding is hugely popular at the training ground, with his work ethic, attitude and fortitude given his long spell out – he suffered a long-term arm injury after returning to training last January – admired by his team-mates and by the staff.
Fielding is set to play against his former club Bristol City in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but beyond that his long-term future is uncertain with Bart Bialkowski giving little indication he’s about to relinquish his first-team shirt.
Rowett would like to keep Fielding, but recognises the goalkeeper could seek first-team football elsewhere in the summer.
“I had that exact conversation with Frank recently, just to try and gauge to where his head’s at,” Rowett told NewsAtDen.
“And he was quite adamant. He loves it at the club, he realises that a lot of people at the club have supported him when he’s had those troubles through injury.
“He’s just desperate to keep healthy, keep fit, keep training and enjoy his football.
“Saturday was a little reward in some ways after he was out for so long and having a good attitude.
“But what you also saw during the game is that he’s an excellent goalkeeper. He’s played at a very good level and he’s one we trust.
“At the moment it’s just nice to give him the opportunity to get out there.
“Bart hasn’t given him that chance to get in the team because Bart’s performances have been excellent.
“He’s a good character, Frankie, and it was good for him to get out there to feel normal after a long time of wretched luck.”
Image: Millwall FC