Scottish spell helps to prepare Lyness for Harriers challenge

GOALKEEPER Dean Lyness believes his experiences in Scotland will leave him in good stead during his Harriers career.

The 20-year-old has been thrust into the limelight this month ever since first choice Danny Lewis was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

So far he's been unfazed in his first five games, despite only being given two hours notice of first ever senior start at Kettering.

Lyness hasn't looked back since that promising debut at Nene Park, where he kept a clean sheet.

The rookie shot-stopper couldn't have asked for better preparation in a career which has already taken him far from his parents' home in Halesowen.

After leaving Birmingham City, who he had joined as a nine-year-old, he signed for Scottish Premier League outfit in the summer of 2009.

The former Leasowes Community College student played mainly for the under-19s but got a taste of the big match atmosphere near the end of the 2009-10 season, when he was on the bench for the club against Celtic and the Edinburgh derby against Hibernian.

"I joined Birmingham City when I was nine-years-old and then moved up to Scotland at the age of 17 to play for Hearts," said Lyness.

"It was a brilliant experience, the facilities up there were really good and I can't thank the people who worked with me enough.

"I was playing for the under-19s in my first season there but I was on the bench for the last five games of the season.

"We played Celtic at Tynecastle and also in the Edinburgh derby and the atmosphere for both games was electric.

"It was a big thing to move to Scotland and live on my own but it helped me grow up."

Lyness, who had a brief loan spell at East Fife, joined Harriers in the summer after being released by the Scottish club and had to wait for his chance to impress manager Steve Burr.

When Lewis, who is set for reconstructive surgery on his knee tomorrow, was ruled out for the season, Lyness was ready for the promotion to the first team.

He said: "You train and prepare all week like you are going to start even though nine times out of 10 you're not.

"It was a huge loss to have Danny out for the season with his experience and ability but all I can do is come in and do my job.

"I'd waited a long time to make my senior start and I feel I am ready for the challenge."

Lyness is set for another of those big tests when Harriers tackle Barrow at their Holker Street fortress.

The North West side have won the last three home games in a row and will be looking forward to continuing their excellent record over Harriers at their base.

Barrow are being fired to success by striker Adam Boyes, who has scored 11 goals this season. The former York man had a brief loan spell at Aggborough near the end of the 2009-10 season but never got into his stride.

Meanwhile, Harriers are without suspended duo Kyle Storer and Lee Vaughan, while Jack Byrne (illness), Mike Williams (hip), Luke Jones (calf) and Dave Hankin (ankle) are not expected to have recovered in time for the match.

Jamille Matt, Scott Phelan and Callum Gittings should have overcame knocks sustained in the mid-week 5-4 win over Braintree to play. Harriers are also hoping to have brought in a second goalkeeper in time for the clash.

Assistant manager Gary Whild is well aware of the task ahead of the team, who will need to tighten up considerably after conceding four in mid-week.

Saturday's opponents have already beaten pacesetters Fleetwood and Wrexham at Holker Street.

Whild said: "They've beaten two of the best teams in this division at home, so it's going to be a tough task.

"The players have to take some credit from the spirit they showed in coming from behind to beat Braintree and take that into Barrow."

Shuttle Online will have have live match updates from tomorrow's Conference clash (3pm kick-off).

For those on www.twitter.com, we'll also keep you up to date with goals, action and the final score. Simply log on and follow sports editor Peter McKinney on @PeteMc78

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