Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson is growing in confidence as the domestic season draws to a close.
That is the verdict of manager Sam Allardyce, who believes the former Tottenham shot-stopper should again become England's No1. With David James injured, Robinson is being tipped by his boss to get the nod ahead of West Ham's Robert Green for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra next month.
Manager Fabio Capello is about to name his squad - Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster will also be absent - and Allardyce claims Robinson is the best bet. He said: "I would put Paul level with David James. Certainly on the consistent form he has shown over the last 10 games, he is back to where we know he should be.
"His confidence has returned, which is very important for any player but more so for a goalkeeper. He is getting better and better. Paul is finally over the problems and the lack of confidence he suffered at Tottenham.
"We have just given him encouragement and the opportunity to show his best. He has responded magnificently and deserves to be in the England reckoning."
I would put Paul level with David James. On the
form he has shown over the last 10 games, he is back to where we know
he should be.
Blackburn round off their campaign with a home game on Sunday against West Brom, who are making a quick return to the second tier. Now that his side are safe Allardyce has good reason to be taking an interest in the gripping relegation battle being fought out.
Hull and Sunderland are managed by Phil Brown and Ricky Sbragia, two members of his former coaching staff at Bolton. Then there is Newcastle, where Allardyce had a short stint as manager at the start of last season.
Allardyce knows the tension those games can bring as he recalled the final match of the 2002/03 season, when Bolton needed to beat Middlesbrough to be assured of staying up. They won 2-1 but he admitted: "It was one of the hardest weeks in my management career. It is very difficult to cope with.
"You have to work with your players while all the speculation goes on about the club's situation. It is very difficult to sleep. It is a huge relief to sit back and read about all the other teams down there. I am pleased I am not in that situation."
Skipper Ryan Nelsen has been ruled out of the match because a torn calf muscle, sustained in last weekend's defeat at Chelsea. On-loan full-back Gael Givet is expected to recover from a calf strain as is Andre Ooijer with a hamstring problem.
Allardyce is keen to finish in style - and boost his transfer kitty in the process. He added: "We will go into the game and try to win it. If we can get a victory and jump up the league it makes a difference financially. You get £750,000 a place, which will help next season's budget in terms of bringing new players in."