9:40am Friday 18th January 2013
By David Pritchard
WAYNE Brown rejected the chance to join a higher-ranked club on loan this season to repay Oxford United’s faith in him.
The 36-year-old is due to continue in goal for the U’s against Rotherham United tomorrow, with No 1 Ryan Clarke out injured for the rest out of the season.
But he has revealed there was an opportunity to go out on loan after being contacted by an npower League One club to come and play regular football.
The goalkeeper turned it down out of a sense of loyalty to United.
Brown signed a two-year contract with the U’s last summer which saw him become a player-coach.
The new role meant although he was back-up to Clarke, the coaching duties meant he did not have to think twice about the approach.
He said: “I did get offered to go on loan to a League One club , but obviously I couldn’t do it because of my coaching.
“They needed an experienced goalkeeper to play, but it just wasn’t a situation I could’ve done.
“It was nice to be thought of, but somebody has put their faith in me and given me a good job here.
“Maybe if I wasn’t coaching and Clarkey was playing I would’ve said yes.”
Brown was brought into the side for the 2-1 win at Bradford City last weekend to replace Clarke.
It was his first action since October and did not begin well, as a breakdown in communication with Michael Duberry gifted a goal to Nakhi Wells.
The former Chester and Hereford keeper immediately accepted responsibility for the error.
Brown admitted it was the sort of mistake which he would have dwelled on earlier in his career.
But with more than 500 appearances under his belt he is experienced enough to shrug it off, although it did not stop him breathing a sigh of relief when Sean Rigg equalised just four minutes later.
He said: “When Riggy scored I had a little punch in the air and thought ‘thank God for that’, but I wasn’t worried at all, to be honest.
“I think if I was 20 years younger it might have ruined me, but you know the situation you’ve been thrown into and you just have to deal with it.You can’t mope about it.”
Last season Brown was handed a chance in the run-in as Clarke was ruled out with a rib injury, but after two games a knee problem also ruled him out.
But the veteran believes with more warning this time around there will be no such fitness concerns.
He said: “Last season my focus was more on coaching, but this time I’ve completely switched it round.
“I’m still taking the sessions but I’m making sure I’m doing the majority of the work.
“There’s more emphasis on me, it’s a bit selfish but that’s the way it’s got to be. My mind’s right so I’m quite happy.
“My fitness now is brilliant, I’m probably as fit now as I’ve ever been.”
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