|Full name||Alexander Thomas Cairns|
|Date of birth||4 January 1993|
|Place of birth||Doncaster, South Yorkshire; England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|2012||→ Barrow (loan)||0||(0)|
|2012–2013||→ Stalybridge Celtic (loan)||38||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 February 2014.
Cairns began his career in the Leeds United youth academy and turned professional with the club at the end of the 2010–11 season by signing a one-year contract along with fellow youth players and twins Nathan and Lewis Turner. The following season would see Cairns join the senior team as cover for Paul Rachubka after first choice goalkeeper Andy Lonergan sustained a finger injury. Rachubka's time in the side was marked by a series of calamitous errors; three of which would come in the first half of a league match against his former club Blackpool. With United 0–3 down at half time and Rachubka's position seemingly untenable, Cairns replaced him for the second half in a baptism of fire. The young goalkeeper would concede a further two times as Blackpool ran out 5–0 winners. In making his debut for the club, Cairns followed in the footsteps of former Leeds academy graduates and England international goalkeepers Paul Robinson and Scott Carson.
Following the Blackpool game, manager Simon Grayson expressed his doubts as to whether Cairns was ready to take on the responsibility of starting in the first-team for the remaining period of Lonergan's absence. Prior to the next match against Leicester City, Grayson brought in young Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy on an emergency loan. Nevertheless, Cairns was promoted ahead of Rachubka and retained his position on the bench for the following weeks until Grayson signed veteran goalkeeper Maik Taylor on a short-term basis to act as cover.
Cairns signed a new two-year deal at the club on 19 January. At the end of the January transfer window, Cairns joined Conference National side Barrow on a one-month loan. Cairn's failed to play a game for Barrow after being an unused substitute in several games and returned to Leeds on 2 March after his loan at Barrow expired. He wouldn't return to the first-team squad at his parent club for the remainder of the season as new manager Neil Warnock favoured five outfield players on the bench.
Whilst Lonergan has since departed and the Football League have extended the number of substitutes to seven, Warnock has brought in senior goalkeepers Paddy Kenny and Jamie Ashdown for the 2012–13 campaign as Cairns remains on the fringes of the first team at the beginning of the season.
Stalybridge Celtic loan
With chances at his parent club limited for the 2012–13 season, Conference North side Stalybridge Celtic signed Cairns on a month-long loan after first-choice goalkeeper Andy Ralph suffered a suspected broken leg in the Badgers' opening game of the season. He made his debut for the club at their Bower Field ground in a 1–1 draw against Gainsborough Trinity and kept his first clean sheet later that week in a 0–0 stalemate against Droylsden. He featured for Celtic in a 2–1 friendly victory over a Manchester United XI which included Darren Fletcher and Alexander Büttner on 11 September. He remained an ever-present for the club since arriving until he was substituted in an early-round FA Cup match on 22 September versus Vauxhall Motors after sustaining a dead-leg following a collision with an opposing player. His loan spell was extended until the end of November during which he reached the final qualifying round of the FA Cup with the Badgers before succumbing to Conference National side Stockport County in a 3–5 defeat at Edgeley Park.
At Stalybridge Celtic's end of season awards on 27 April 2013, Cairns won the Player of the Year, Players' Player of the Year and Supporters' Player of the Year awards.
Return to Leeds United
After an injury to Jamie Ashdown for the final home game of the season, Cairns was recalled to Leeds on 26 April 2013, and was named on the bench against Brighton & Hove Albion on 27 April.
During the 2013–14 season, Cairns was named as number two goalkeeper with Jamie Ashdown missing the season through injury, Cairns was sub goalkeeper firstly to Paddy Kenny and then loan goalkeeper Jack Butland. After Kenny return from injury, Cairns still managed displaced Kenny on the bench. On 16 May 2014, Cairns extended his contract with Leeds by a further year.
Cairns' 16-year-old brother Blake was killed in a two car collision in Conisbrough alongside four other teenagers, three of whom attended Danum Academy Sixth Form with the other having previously attended the Sixth Form. Alex Cairns and other members of the Leeds United squad, such as Billy Sharp and Stephen Warnock, attended the funeral.
- Player of the Year Award 2012–13
- Player's Player of the Year Award 2012–13
- Supporters Player of the Year Award 2012–13
- As of 20 April 2013.
|Season||Club||Loan||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||FL Trophy||FA Trophy||Play-offs||Total||Discipline|
|2012–13||Stalybridge Celtic||Loan||Conference North||38||52||3||6||–||–||–||–||1||2||–||–||42||60||1||0|
- "Profile". footballzz. 21 February 2014.
- Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack, eds. (2012). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2012–2013 (43rd ed.). London: Headline. p. 482. ISBN 978-0-7553-6356-8.
- "ACADEMY TRIO OFFERED PRO DEALS". LUFC. 9 May 2011.
- "Leeds Vs Blackpool". LUFC. 2 November 2011.
- "Leeds United manager Simon Grayson ponders loan move after Paul Rachubka's nightmare in 5–0 loss to Blackpool". The Telegraph. 3 November 2011.
- "McCARTHY STARTS, O'DEA SET TO MISS OUT". LUFC. 4 November 2011.
- "BBC Sport – Leicester 0–1 Leeds". BBC. 6 November 2011.
- "Leeds United bring in goalkeeper Maik Taylor". BBC. 24 November 2011.
- "]THE FUTURE'S ALL-WHITE FOR YOUNG ALEX". LUFC. 19 January 2012.
- "]Barrow sign Leeds United goalkeeper Alex Cairns". BBC. 31 January 2012.
- "] Barrow Sign Back-Up Keeper". barrowafc.com. 2 March 2012.
- "Leeds sign goalkeeper Paddy Kenny from QPR". The Guardian. 11 July 2012.
- "Leeds United bring in Andy Gray and Jamie Ashdown". BBC. 24 July 2012.
- "Stalybridge Take Leeds Keeper on Loan". Football Conference. 21 August 2012.
- "Stalybridge Celtic 1–1 Gainsborough Trinity". Stalybridge Celtic. 21 August 2012.
- "Stalybridge Celtic 0–0 Droylsden". Stalybridge Celtic. 21 August 2012.
- "Stalybridge Celtic 0–0 Droylsden". Stalybridge Celtic. 22 September 2012.
- "Celtic put up a spirited fight, but County were just too strong". Stalybridge Celtic. 22 October 2012.
- "April 27th, 2013 – Player of the Year Award Winners". Stalybridge Celtic. 27 April 2013.
- "Kenny 'fit for selection'". Teamtalk. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 20142. Check date values in:
- "Leeds United release midfielder". BBC Sport. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- "Austin Released by Leeds United". Leeds United. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- "Leeds United players support family of tragic Blake Cairns". Yorkshire Evening Post. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- "Statistics". Soccerbase. Retrieved 1 October 2008.