West Bromwich Albion new boy Scott Carson believes the battle of the gloves, and the chance to wear the number one jersey for the big Barclays Premier League kick-off, will go to right to the wire.
The former Liverpool keeper, who joined Albion after a season-long loan at neighbours Aston Villa in a £3.25 million deal, believes he and fellow contender Dean Kiely will have only one more chance to try to win over the manager - at Saturday’s pre-season friendly with Real Mallorca at The Hawthorns – before the season’s opener at Arsenal.
Albion manager Tony Mowbray is expected to run the rule over the keepers again before making a stance ahead of the match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on August 16.
Both keepers played 45 minutes in midweek in the friendly with Walsall and Carson thinks the decision has still to be made.
He said: “Myself and ‘Deano’ were told we were playing at Walsall only on the day before the game but both of us had a little bit to do. It was a good work-out and nice to get another 45 minutes under my belt.
“It is always good to make a couple of saves too.”
The 22-year-old England international added: “The manager hasn’t really said anything to me about who will start the season and I don’t think he has said anything to Dean.
“I thought we both did what we had to do at Walsall and the rest is down to the manager. It’s his decision.
“All the gaffer has told me is he’s going to make a decision before the Arsenal game. He is going to wait and see how we do.
“There is one game left so it us up to Dean and myself to work hard in the next couple of weeks.”
Asked if he felt the position would go to veteran Kiely who was instrumental in guiding Albion to promotion last season, Carson said: “Is Dean in possession of the shirt? Probably. He is the one who got the lads into the Premier League in the first place.
“Of course, it would be a big blow to miss out at Arsenal but I am not the sort of person to sulk It would just make me work harder and more determined to get in ‘the sticks’ for the rest of the season.”
Should Carson be called up to step in for the big Premier League curtain-raiser, he insists he will be ready. He said: “As I said last week after the Swansea game, I am ready. I have had a couple of weeks now with coach Joe Corrigan and the team and I feel as if I have settled really well.”