Gueret's Goal Is to Shut Up Shop against Old Pal

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Byline: By IAN HUNT Western Mail

Goalkeeper Willy Gueret is not surprised his old mate Steve Claridge is 'doing a Teddy Sheringham' - but he plans to shut him out tonight just like he did last month. Veteran striker Claridge is League One's version of West Ham star Sheringham - still intelligently leading a forward line despite being just weeks shy of his 40th birthday.

But Swansea City keeper Gueret twice prevented his former Millwall colleague adding to his long list of goals in the 1-1 draw at Valley Parade on January 14.

And Gueret plans to do the same if Bradford's 39-year-old sharp-shooter is unleashed at the Liberty Stadium for tonight's quickfire return clash. 'I had to make a couple of saves from Steve in the last two minutes of the match at Bradford,' recalled Gueret. 'One was a header from a free-kick which I managed to tip away, and the other was a strike which came straight at me and I pushed over the 'bar.

'It shows you Steve's still playing well even though he's 39. If you switch off, he's capable of doing something special, but hopefully I'll be able to stop him scoring again.'

If anyone at Swansea should know how to thwart the much-travelled forward it is 32-year-old Gueret.

The French 'keeper was a team-mate of Claridge, who, like Sheringham, has earned a reputation as one of the most intelligent strikers in the game, at the New Den between 2001 and 2003.

'We became quite close friends during the two years we were together at Millwall,' said Gueret, who in all spent four years with the Lions before joining Swansea in 2004. 'He left in 2003 (to become Weymouth manager), and then I left a year later before he returned as manager, which didn't work out for him (it lasted only 49 days).

'He's a good lad, a funny lad. And he's a very good pro. I'm not surprised he's still playing because of the way he's looked after himself.

'I'm not sure he can play at high intensity for 90 minutes, but he's a very clever player. You have to stay tight to him because he's so bright.'

Claridge, a veteran of more than 600 league appearances with 16 different clubs, whose last appearance in Swansea was with Wycombe last term, has struck four goals since joining Bradford last summer.

But he is not the only Bantams striker proving you can still thrive in the Football League when most people expect you to be edging towards retirement.

Dean Windass, 37 in April and the man who broke Swansea hearts with the late equaliser in the Yorkshire clash, is on the list of top goalscorers in League One with 12 strikes.

Plenty of evidence, then, that Colin Todd's side will provide another stern examination of Swansea's Championship credentials - even if they are seemingly out of the promotion race themselves having drifted 11 points short of the play-offs. …