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Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin refuses to rule out move for Ipswich keeper Vaclav Hladky

Vaclav Hladky in action during his time at St Mirren
Vaclav Hladky in action during his time at St Mirren

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has refused to rule out a summer swoop for Ipswich Town keeper Vaclav Hladky.

Czech Republic stopper Hladky played under Goodwin at St Mirren until 2020.

The 31-year-old keeper is reportedly one of Goodwin’s top summer targets.

When asked if Hladky is a player he would be interested in, Goodwin admitted his admiration for the keeper.

He also hailed Hladky’s “strength of character”.

After 18 months under Goodwin, keeper Hladky moved from St Mirren to English League Two side Salford in 2020.

A superb debut campaign in England led to a step up to League One with Ipswich last summer.

Hladky was first choice at Ipswich for the first half of this season.

However he lost the No.1 jersey at Portman Road and has not played this year.

Hladky, contracted to Ipswich until summer 2024, is reportedly willing to move on in the search for regular football.

It is understood Ipswich are open to selling Hladky during the summer window.

However, Ipswich will look to recoup the majority of the six figure fee paid to Salford for the keeper.

Goodwin is set to undertake a summer rebuild of a squad that will finish in the bottom six of the Premiership for the first time since 2013.

Jim Goodwin, whilst St Mirren manager, with Vaclav Hladky.

When quizzed if Hladky is a player he would be interested in, Goodwin said: “I’ve got a lot of admiration for Vaclav, having worked with him at St Mirren.

“You talk about characters and strength of character, and Vaclav has certainly got that.

“He was a really good player with St Mirren.”

Hladky excelled at Salford City

Goodwin signed Hladky from Czech side Slovan Liberec in January 2019.

He made 59 appearances for St Mirren before sealing a summer 2020 switch to ambitious Salford City.

In his debut season with Salford he went on to make 46 appearances, securing an impressive 24 clean sheets.

Vaclav Hladky in action for St Mirren against Hearts in November 2019.

He helped Salford win the EFL Trophy.

Hladky was named League Two Keeper of the Season and also picked up Salford’s Player of the Season award.

That impressive form led to a move to Ipswich Town last summer for an undisclosed six figure fee.

Initially first choice keeper, Hladky lost his spot to Christian Walton following the arrival of new manager Kieran McKenna.

Hladky has not played since Ipswich’s 1-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers on December 29, McKenna’s first game in charge.

Goodwin said: “He went down to Salford, did particularly well and earned the right to get a decent move to Ipswich.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out for him.

“We are looking at a number of players in every position.”

Aberdeen’s Joe Lewis (L) and Vaclav Hladky, then of St Mirren, at full-time after a league match in November 2019.

Praise for Joe Lewis in Dundee win

Aberdeen will face Hibs away on Saturday having all but killed off the threat of being dragged into the relegation play-offs.

A 1-0 defeat of Dundee moved the Reds eight points ahead of St Johnstone who occupy that play-off spot.

With only three games left, Aberdeen also have a far superior goal advantage than the Perth Saints.

Goodwin praised the role of keeper, and captain, Joe Lewis in that vital defeat of Dundee.

Aberdeen captain Joe Lewis saves a shot from Dundee’s Josh Mulligan’s (15) during the Dons’ 1-0 win.

He said: “I think there was a sense of relief around the place on Monday when we came in.

“The result was probably more important than the overall performance, that’s fair to say.

“We made hard work of it, but for Joe Lewis we could have found ourselves chasing the game.

“But I have to give credit to the players.

“It was a quite intense and nervy occasion but we managed to get the win, which was extremely important.”

‘We’re not mathematically safe’

The Dons boss will demand a win at Easter Road to “mathematically” eradicate the slim threat of the relegation play-off.

Goodwin is determined to finish a disappointing campaign with momentum and optimism.

He will undertake a substantial summer squad rebuild but wants to go into the transfer window with positivity.

Goodwin said: “We’re not mathematically safe so there’s no point thinking feet up and let’s enjoy the afternoon.

“We still want to finish as high up the table as we can.

“We spoke recently about the prize money there and every place is worth money to the club.

“As a group of staff and players we owe it to ourselves to try and finish the season in as positive a manner as possible.

“I’ll be picking the strongest XI available to me on Saturday, and we’ll be trying to win the game.”

Matty Kennedy returns to training

Goodwin has an almost full squad to choose from for the trip to Hibs.

Winger Matty Kennedy has this week returned to training having been sidelined with a back problem.

Aberdeen’s Matty Kennedy (R) looks to get free of St Mirren’s Marcus Fraser in February 2021.

Goodwin said: “We’ve got no new injuries and everyone is out on the training pitch this week, which is great.

“Matty Kennedy included.

“Matty might not feature in matchday squads but it’s great to have him back nonetheless.”

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