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Life begins at 40 for Harrison
LEE Harrison has told Wanderers fans they needn't worry at the thought of him having a prolonged period between the sticks.
The Blues goalkeeping coach has been registered as a player for the forthcoming season and has sat on the bench for the first two games of the season.
But Harrison, who turns 41 next month, says although the move had been on the cards for some time it was always going to be as an emergency measure.
Instead he's focussing on helping to develop the career of young goalkeeper Matt Ingram, who has joined Hayes and Yeading United on loan until January.
Harrison said: "We've got a 24 hour recall clause on Matt so if anything happens we can get him straight back, so the fans don't have to panic they'll get a 40-something in goal every week.
"I had a discussion with the gaffer and said if you want to register me it's fine, I'll go on the bench. It was something we had spoken about through pre-season.
"At this level everyone has to muck in. If you speak to [former Wanderers goalkeeping coach] Martin Brennan now he's at Fulham he's probably got goalkeepers coming out of his ears. It's different at this level of football, so you have to think your way through how you're going to do things.
"If we had gone up to York and one of the goalkeepers goes ill, it would be silly not to have me signed and registered to go in and sit on the bench."
He thought he had hung up his gloves for good after being released by Barnet - a side he made more than 300 appearances for - but signed on at Hayes in 2010.
A move to Newport County in a coaching role followed, but he still got a run-out there as he played for them in a Welsh Cup tie on his 40th birthday.
He said: "It's turned out I've been fit enough to just about play as well for the last five years.
"Officially I'm retired. I played for Hayes and Yeading and I said that would be my last game. I'll come out for emergencies. It's not a long term thing by any stretch of the imagination. I can come in and do a job which the club needs to be done, but the bigger picture is developing a young goalkeeper."
Harrison said going out on loan was the best thing for 18-year-old Ingram's development, having experienced the same thing earlier in his own career.
He said: "He's very good but if he sits here on the bench for six months he's not going to develop how we would want him to develop with a little bit of experience.
"Matt's at that stage where he needs games to develop. I remember when I was at that stage, I went to Welling in the Conference and went and played for half a season. It did me the world of good - when you go back into League football you're ready for it."