Gilks targets Chelsea return

Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks
Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks

MATT Gilks hopes to be fit in time for Chelsea’s eagerly anticipated visit to Bloomfield Road next month ... but Ian Holloway believes that is wishful thinking on the keeper’s part.

The Pool manager also fears Paul Rachubka could be struggling to be fit for the start of next season.

Both keepers have knee injuries, but whereas Holloway warns Rachubka “may be out for another six months” with his latest cartilage problem, Gilks is definitely seeing light at the end of the end of the tunnel over three months after breaking a kneecap in the draw at West Ham.

The 28-year-old is running again and optimistic of a quick return, with the champions’ visit to Bloomfield Road on March 7 very much on his mind.

But Holloway said: “Matt’s injury is fine but he is at least six weeks away at the moment.”

The Scotland keeper suffered muscle wastage in his thigh during his enforced period of inactivity and that has hampered his recovery.

Holloway explained: “His injury is fine. There’s nothing wrong with the kneecap. The problem is that because of where the injury was he wasn’t able to bend or move, so he’s had muscle wastage.

“The inside of his thigh is wasted, so we have to build that up again before he can play.

“Gilks has come up to me, dead enthusiastic, and said, ‘I can play’.

“But we can’t do that. If we threw him in now he could do some serious damage.”

Having written off Rachubka for the rest of this season at least – “He might be out for another six months. That’s just life, it’s what happens” – Holloway also revealed that his only available senior keeper, Richard Kingson, is playing with injuries.

“Richard is more patched-up than anyone I’ve got in my squad,” added Holloway, highlighting why he is so anxious to recruit emergency cover in time for Tottenham’s visit to Bloomfield Road on Tuesday.