Former Wrexham FC keeper Nielsen backed by Chris Maxwell

WREXHAM’S Wales under-21 goalkeeper Chris Maxwell is backing former team-mate Gunnar Nielsen to shine if he is given the chance to play in Manchester City’s final two Premier League games of the campaign.

Nielsen, who played five matches on loan at Wrexham last season before breaking his thumb and being replaced by Maxwell for the run-in, is in line to face Aston Villa on Saturday after first choice Shay Given dislocated a shoulder in last weekend’s clash with Arsenal.

Nielsen, 23, played the last 17 minutes of the 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium and City boss Roberto Mancini has little room for manoeuvre with Joe Hart on a season-long loan at Brimingham and alternatives Stuart Taylor and David Gonzalez both unfit.

But Maxwell who has shared goalkeeping duties at the Racecourse with Sam Russell during the Blue Square Premier League season that ended last weekend, says Nielsen won’t let anyone down.

“Gunnar is a solid goalkeeper and a really big lad, which is an obvious advantage for someone in his position,” he said.

“He is very professional in everything he does and if he gets his chance I’m sure he will do well for City.

“People will be looking for mistakes, but that sort of pressure is part and parcel of the job for keepers, whether they are playing at the grass roots or in the Premier League. Knowing Gunnar as I do, I think he will do himself proud.”

Maxwell revealed that Nielsen, whose Racecourse loan was ended by the injury he sustained at Oxford United, did not completely turn his back on Wrexham.

“We had four games left so I took over the between the posts and Gunnar came to three of them to support me, which was a really nice gesture that was much appreciated,” added Maxwell. “Everyone here at Wrexham will be rooting for him if he plays and it’s a great opportunity for him to show what he can do.”

Meanwhile, Nielsen has been given a timely boost by being named first choice keeper for the Faroe Islands when they begin their Euro 2012 qualifiers.

He will replace long-serving Jakup Mikkelsen, who has now turned 39.

Manager Brian Kerr said: “He made his debut for the Faroes against Iceland before I took over and I was very impressed by his performance. He will be my top-choice keeper for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Kerr also believes Nielsen can rise to the challenge at City.

“I believe he will grasp the chance if he is given it,” added the former Republic of Ireland boss.

“He has prepared a long time for this and I’m confident that he would handle the situation well. It is a big opportunity for him.

“He is big, confident and competent and because of his physical attributes he has a bit of a presence about him.

“If he gets to play, his mental attitude and strength will be a real attribute that will come across on the field.”