Jussi rewarded for hard work
By Andrew Scurr
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jussi Jaaskelainen believes he is beginning to reap the rewards for all his hard work.
Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen believes he is beginning to reap the rewards for all his hard work on the training ground.
The 31-year-old has spent his nine years with The Trotters alongside goalkeeping coach Fred Barber working on his game.
Jaaskelainen currently finds himself in the best form of his career, having kept six clean sheets in nine Premiership outings.
The Finnish shot-stopper will come up against Manchester United's array of striking talent on Saturday and he is keen to continue his fine form.
"I have been working with Fred from day one and he keeps pushing me," Jaaskelainen said.
"The one good thing is you can never take it easy with him.
"If you keep training hard you have a chance of improving.
"Fred has helped me take my game to a higher level.
"If you do the right things through the week, it means you are ready for Saturday.
"United will be a tough test but our home form has been brilliant and we want that to continue."
Jaaskelainen says Sam Allardyce has also played a huge role in the constant improvement in his ability.
The £100,000 arrival from VPS Vaasa in 1997 has been a regular feature during Allardyce's tenure at The Reebok Stadium.
Jaaskelainen said: "He is great manager as he always wants to learn.
"I am grateful to him because he picks me regularly and that has helped me become much more consistent.
"I am 31 now and hopefully getting to the peak of my career as I have a lot of experience at this level.
"I am happy here and want to play every game because we work hard as a team. That is why we continue to do well.
"Our aim now is to stay high up the table and return to Europe as we enjoyed our time there last season."
Allardyce recently suggested Jaaskelainen is up there with The Premiership's very best goalkeepers.
He will come up against another one of them in United's Edwin Van der Sar on Saturday and Jaaskelainen is full of admiration for his fellow Premiership keepers.
"He (Van der Sar) has been playing consistently well at a high level for a very long time, " he added.
"He has great experience and the thing I have noticed about him, is that he is very calm.
"Van der Sar is up there in the Premier League alongside Petr Cech and Jens Lehmann.
"When people, especially the manager as he picks the team, compare you to these guys it can only help your confidence."