The weather may have been freezing, but Andrew Lonergan was one of the last players off the training ground while we waited to conduct our official matchday programme interview this week. “I love it!” smiled Andrew - not Andy - as he trudges in covered in mud.
Despite Fulham’s struggles this season, Lonergan remains a bubbly character around Motspur Park. Goalkeeping can be a lonely place at times but, at 32, the Lancashire lad has learnt how to deal with the trials and tribulations the position between the sticks can bring.
“I think I’m getting pretty good at switching off from it all,” said the summer signing from Bolton Wanderers. “When I was younger - and I see it in the young keepers here now - you’d make a mistake in training and it’s a travesty and you beat yourself up. But I tell them, ‘just get on with it, move on, don’t let it bother you.’ That’s all you can do as a keeper.
“Every keeper gets dog’s abuse, look at David De Gea and what he went through when he first arrived at Manchester United. It’s just something you have to learn to deal with. Everyone has got something to say about the keeper, but I just shrug it off, it’s water off a duck’s back. If you’re comfortable with yourself then it doesn’t matter what people are saying, they’re always going to find fault.”
With the Whites conceding more goals than anyone else in the Championship this term, bar Charlton Athletic, Fulham’s defensive frailties have been highlighted on more than one occasion.
“Of course, seeing the goals-against column hurts,” said Lonergan. “We have conceded x-amount of goals and obviously you want to keep a clean sheet, but you can’t just single out individuals or the back four, it’s a team game. We’ve all got to take pride in stopping the goals.”
To read the full interview with Lonergan, pick up a copy of Saturday’s award-winning matchday programme.
Other highlights in the only matchday magazine that matters - which is also available to download digitally from 9am on Saturday - are:
Priced £3.50, the 84-page publication is available from various sellers on Stevenage Road from two hours before kick-off. Or order it online from ProgrammeMaster.
For just £1.99, the programme is also available as a digital download with added video content from 9am on Saturday, so whether you’re at home or away, you need never be without it on your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, PC or Mac via Apple’s Newsstand or Pocketmags.
Or to ensure you don’t miss a single copy of the official matchday programme, purchase an annual subscription. Head here for full details.