Gilks: It was the right time to leave

Matt Gilks at Burnley

Matt Gilks at Burnley

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Matt Gilks signed for Burnley yesterday, meaning none of Blackpool’s Premier League heroes remain at the club.

Every member of the famous squad which played in the top flight just three years ago has now left, as have all the coaching and backroom staff.

The 32-year-old keeper turned down the offer of a new Pool contract yesterday, opting to return to the Premier League after six seasons at Bloomfield Road.

Gilks swept the board at Pool’s player of the year awards ceremony in May and was one player manager Jose Riga wanted to keep.

But after 182 league appearances for Pool, the Scotland international felt now was the right time to move on.

Gilks explained: “The move was mentioned at the end of last season. I think I wanted to move on. I had three brilliant years under Ian Holloway. What we achieved was fantastic, but I realised I was due for a change and probably the club did too.

“I spoke to several other clubs but when I got a call from Burnley things quickly escalated from there.”

The move takes Gilks closer to his home in Rochdale, though he faces tough competition from Tom Heaton, who made 50 appearances between the sticks for the Clarets last season.

Gilks added: “Hopefully Burnley can stay in the Premier League this time. I don’t live too far away, so the locality is great for me.

“And when you have Chelsea and Manchester United at home in your first three games, you know you have to be right on it from day one!

“But I know I’ve had a good off-season and will be ready to go.”