Veteran 'keeper Filan heading home in the summer

February 27, 2007

Veteran Wigan goalkeeper John Filan has decided to return home to Australia at the end of the season after 14 years in the English game.

Filan, whose contract expires in June, believes the time is right for him and his family to head back to his Sydney birthplace - but only after the 37-year-old has helped Wigan retain their place in the Premiership.

'I'm negotiating on a house at the moment, so we're going to go back,' confirmed Filan, who started his career in England with Cambridge in 1993 before joining Coventry, Blackburn and then Wigan.

'My contract's up, but if I can first help the club get as high up the league as possible then that would be a great finish for me.'

Filan may not hang up his gloves for good, conceding he may play for a team in Australia.

'It's one of the options,' he said.

'Although we all know how quickly things can change in the game, but that's my mindset.'

For now, the former Australia international is enjoying his one last hurrah in the Premiership.

With Chris Kirkland and Mike Pollitt currently injured, Filan has played in Wigan's last two matches, ending a 10-month spell out of the first-team picture.

After helping the 10-man Latics to a draw at Watford on Wednesday, Filan proved he still has what it takes with a man-of-the-match display in Sunday's 1-0 win over Newcastle.

Filan made four fine saves, including a crucial penalty stop to deny Nolberto Solano just before the half hour, providing the platform for Ryan Taylor's 40th-minute free-kick winner.

'I'm delighted to be back, and just savouring every game now,' added Filan, who earlier this season played four games on loan with Doncaster.

'At 37, I know I'm not the youngest in the squad so, every time I'm asked to play in the Premiership, I'm excited to do so.

'At the start of the season, when the club signed a 25-year-old England goalkeeper [Kirkland], I thought my chances would be limited.

'I've been used to playing week in and week out, but when you get to this level you know good players are going to be attracted to the club, so you have to fight for your place.

'Obviously, everyone at the club wants to play, but I've said it over the seasons - the most important thing are the results for the club, whoever plays.'

'I'm happy I've played in the last couple of games and that the results have gone well.

'But now I'm just thinking about this Saturday's game at Manchester City and getting another good result.'