Gilks panic over for Pool

Matt Gilks

Matt Gilks

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Matt Gilks has been given the all-clear to play for Blackpool at Birmingham City on Saturday.

There had been major concern over the goalkeeper’s availability after he pulled out of Scotland’s friendly in Norway on Tuesday.

Pool’s number one had a scan on his shoulder on Monday after suffering pain while training with Gordon Strachan’s squad.

Injury to Gilks would have left the Seasiders without a fit keeper at the club, but the 31-year-old has reassured fans he’ll be fine for the trip to St Andrew’s.

“I’ve rested it this week and it will be fine for Saturday,” he declared. “Thankfully the scan didn’t show anything severe and I can just look after it. Hopefully we can get three points.”

Gilks’ injury was a recurrence of a strain he picked up in the win at Nottingham Forest at the start of the month.

And although he has been suffering pain ever since, he insists this won’t prevent him from playing.

He explained: “I’ve had a shoulder injury for a few weeks. I had treatment and gave it a rest but it got progressively worse, so unfortunately I had to pull out of the Scotland squad.

“I was getting through training all right, but then you do something which pushes it a bit too far. That was the case when I joined up (with Scotland).

“I rested until Monday, did an hour’s training and I did it again, so I was advised to come back.

“The scan shows what we thought initially – that it is just a case of managing it and giving it a bit of rest. The Scotland doctors and medical team are superb with the injured lads. They really look after us.”

The lack of back-up for Gilks, with Mark Halstead also on the injured list, highlights just how stretched Paul Ince’s squad is.

Pool are hoping to welcome Isaiah Osbourne, Chris Basham and Nathan Delfouneso back after injury this weekend, but they will still be without Barry Ferguson (ankle) and Jack Robinson (suspended).

Gilks added: “We’ve missed Fergie in the middle of the patch and Basham. It is about keeping the squad fit and making sure we don’t get more injuries, but that is why we have a squad – so people can step up.

“We have a tough month coming up, so the squad will be tested. But this league is tough – there are great teams and players – so we expect challenges in every game.”