Kirkland makes Foxes loan

Published Nov. 25, 2010 1:15 p.m. ET

The deal reunites the 29-year-old with Sven-Goran Eriksson, the manager who first called him into the England squad seven years ago. Kirkland has lost his place at the DW Stadium to on-loan Ali Habsi but Wigan, who confirmed the deal this morning, will retain the right to recall him at 24 hours' notice. Latics manager Roberto Martinez said: "Chris has been training really well but to improve his form he probably needs to play some games. "It is a great opportunity for him. I think it is the best possible way for Chris to get back to his best match fitness. "He is going to a team making a really good challenge and it is probably what he needs now after the consistency he has shown in training. "Goalkeeper is a very specific position and it can be frustrating at times. "We feel from now until January 1 is a perfect window, with a huge amount of games, where Chris can really push himself and enjoy his football." The former Liverpool and Coventry keeper started the season in the Wigan side but was dropped by Martinez after conceding 10 goals to Blackpool and Chelsea in the opening two Premier League games. His only senior appearance since came because Al Habsi was unable to play against parent club Bolton under the terms of his season-long move. Al Habsi's performances have led to speculation Martinez could seek to sign the Oman international permanently. The Spaniard did not comment on that specifically at a press conference on Thursday but insisted this was not the beginning of the end of Kirkland's four-year spell with Latics. The Spaniard said: "It is a real boost for his Wigan career. He had a couple of niggles earlier on in the season and that affected his form. "Ali has come in and done extremely well. Now it is just a way for Chris to keep competing for the number one shirt from a distance. "In football there are times when you need to play games to test yourself. "Chris has still got a long-term contract with the football club. He is a huge asset and a model professional. "I don't want Chris to drop his standards because of frustration." Kirkland was not capped at international level by Eriksson and had to wait until 2006 to make his first and only England appearance under Steve McClaren. Leicester, where Eriksson took charge in October, are 17th in the Championship. Kirkland will go straight into the Foxes squad for Monday's clash against Nottingham Forest. Wigan still have cover for Al Habsi in veteran Mike Pollitt while they also have England Under-19 keeper Lee Nicholls out on loan at Hartlepool. Kirkland said: "I think the fans will see I just need to play, that's the top and bottom of it. I need to be match sharp. "I love it at Wigan, it's been the best spell of my career. "I've said it many times how settled I feel at the club and how great everyone here has been to me. "But in football, things happen sometimes. Ali has come in this season and done well and I can't argue with that. "He is a great lad and all three of us, with Mike Pollitt, get on brilliantly."