Penny gets in his Two Penny Worth!
Many Clarets fans have had concerns recently concerning our second-string Peru international goalkeeper, Diego Penny.
Penny signed from Peruvian side Coronel Bolognesi in June 2008 for an undisclosed fee. He was then given the Number One jersey and was expected to be the number one choice ahead of Brian Jensen.
He indeed was given the nod to start in our first Championship league match of the 2008-9 season away to Sheffield Wednesday. The game though proved to be a disaster and in a terrible defensive display we got thumped 4-1. Penny was dropped, although to be honest the goals were not totally his fault, and that was it for the rest of the season. He never featured again although how much that was down to Brian Jensen simply having his best season yet between the sticks, we will never know.
The promotion to the Premier League and the top notch performance by Brian Jensen though firmly established Penny as the second-choice keeper and that trend continued into this season.
Penny has once more found opportunities limited in the first team this season although he did start in the Carling Cup match at Hartlepool with the Clarets coming from behind to secure a 2-1 victory.
Many expected Penny would be given a chance to start in the next round away to Barnsley but to the surprise of many Clarets fans, Jensen was given a starting place. Jensen though was injured in the game picking up a deadleg after 34 minutes so Penny was given another chance anyway. It is probably fair to say that Penny put in a fair but average performance in both games, and it probably did not help his cause with defeat at Oakwell.
The 25 year old has certainly been unlucky with Jensen continuing to play well and avoiding injury.
After Barnsley though there were concerns that 'The Beast' could be out injured for a few games and that might have given Penny a chance to shine.
No such luck! Jensen made a quick recovery and was available to start in the next match away to Spurs once more condemning Penny to bench warming, something he has done so far in all League games this season.
Clarets fans felt Penny's days could be numbered as rumours circulated that he seemed to have lost his confidence and might not be good enough quality for the Premier League. The doubts grew when it was announced we had brought in a new goalkeeper, Jonathan Lund.
Lund went straight into the reserves starting eleven for a game against Liverpool Reserves at Prenton Park and made an encouraging debut keeping a clean sheet until a late goal from a free kick in added time.
Would Penny now be reduced to third-string keeper? It would appear not. Penny has started in subsequent reserve matches and has been the first team substitute keeper. The club have also made it plain that Lund is cover for both Jensen and Penny.
So would we now be confident if Penny was given his chance in the first team for whatever reason? Well his confidence will certainly have been boosted after a reserve match this week against Manchester City. A win for City would have taken them top of the Barclay's Premier Reserve League North but they lost 2-1 to an impressive Clarets side. A brace of goals by Wes Fletcher had put the Clarets in a commanding lead before City got one back thanks to a Robbie Mak goal in the last minute.
The story of the night though belongs to Penny. He made a number of excellent saves in the game but also stood tall facing a penalty from David Ball...twice!!
Ball's first attempt was brilliantly saved by Penny but the City striker was given a second-chance when the referee ordered the penalty to be re-taken. Penny stood tall again, guessed correctly again and saved again which must have done a world of good for his confidence!
Reserves coach, Steve Davis had nothing but praise for Penny after his stunning performance:
'Diego was outstanding. That was pleasing and good from his point of view. It's a confidence-booster for him, as I think it is for all the players that are playing if you can turn in a good performance. It gives you a lot of confidence and it shows the manager and Sandy, who were watching, what you are capable of.It gives you a bit of a platform so that if you do get a chance that you will hopefully be ready to take it'
Well done, Diego! Let's hope this is just the tonic you need to maintain the momentum and confidence levels should you be called upon to stand in for Jensen.
Brian Jensen may have to watch his back anyway if Penny keeps up this sort of performance. It has to be said that 'The Beast' has been somewhat inconsistent recently and his performance against Rovers last Sunday left a lot to be desired.