Gilks desperate to make Cottage comeback

Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks in action against Arsenal earlier in the season

Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks in action against Arsenal earlier in the season

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MATT Gilks is aiming to be back for the Seasiders’ trip to Fulham on Sunday week.

With the goalkeeping position in the spotlight after Richard Kingson’s late error at Blackburn, Gilks aims to impress in training and give himself a chance of starting at Craven Cottage.

Paul Rachubka, also nearing full fitness, and Mark Halstead, who plays for the reserves against West Ham today, could have something to say about that.

But after being out since November with a broken kneecap and then hurting his calf in his comeback game against Chelsea’s second string last week, a frustrated Gilks is desperate to return.

The 28-year-old said: “The knee has been fine for six weeks but it’s the muscle around it that needed a lot of work. I needed to get the strength back in the leg. I’ve put in the hard work and I probably pushed it a little too much. That’s why I picked up my calf injury at Chelsea.

“But hopefully I’ll be back for the Fulham game. I really hope I am because it has been four months and I’m absolutely desperate to get back.”

Ian Holloway will be cheered by that as he too is desperate to have Gilks back in the fold.

The manager said: “He’s a great character, a lovely lad, and a top-class keeper as well.

“When you consider how well he was playing in the first part of the season, I think he has been a big miss for us.

“Richard Kingson has stepped in and done excellently but there’s no doubt having Matt back will be a huge boost for us at this crucial stage of the season.”

When Gilks does return, the more eagle-eyed spectators may notice a slight change in the keeper’s technique.

He broke a kneecap at West Ham because of the way he kicked the ball and so has made alterations.

Gilks explained: “We’ve analysed my kicking from different angles and I’ve made adjustments to my technique so that it never happens again.

“I’m going to have to work on daily and definitely over the summer as well so I’m injury-free in future.

“It’s just a real shame it happened when it did because I was delighted with my form at the start of the season. I think I was probably playing as well as ever and I’ve taken to the Premier League a lot better than I ever thought I would.”