MATT Gilks has given the Seasiders renewed belief and can help them beat the drop.
That’s the view of Ian Holloway, who says he is delighted to have his No.1 keeper back in the team after injury.
Holloway believes Gilks still isn’t quite 100 per cent fit after a broken kneecap kept him out for three months.
But the manager says recalling Gilks was a risk worth taking. “He has played the last three games and has added all sorts of belief to the people around him,” said Holloway, ahead of today’s teatime clash at Tottenham.
“He won us so many points in the first half of the season and he grew in stature because he was playing so well.
“He talks non-stop. Even in my team meetings I have to shut him up sometimes because he is that vocal.
“At times like this, when all is not going to plan, you need people to step up to the plate and you need characters and he is one of them. I think he has helped immensely since he returned to the team.”
Holloway has set his side an ambitious target of five points from the last three games, a tally that would almost guarantee survival.
However, given Pool play Tottenham today and travel to Manchester United on the final day, it would seem a tall order.
Then again, it has emerged that Holloway and Sir Alex Ferguson have brokered a secret deal for that last match – the United manager will make a comeback six months shy of his 70th birthday.
Holloway explained: “I rang him the day after the Champions League first leg against Schalke to congratulate him on their performance because I thought they were breathtaking. They were superb – their discipline, their structure – and I just felt I had to ring him up.
“He was surprised I’d called, but we got chatting and he asked who we play next. I mentioned Tottenham and Bolton, and said that of course we finish against you. I said I hoped they’d have the title wrapped up by then, and he said: ‘If we have, I’ll play myself against you, my old son’.
“I’ll hold him to that, although a member of my staff saw him play in Scotland and says Sir Alex’s teams mirror the way he used to play, with their energy and enthusiasm. Maybe we’d be better off if he didn’t play after all!”
Pool have a fully fit squad to choose from at Tottenham, where the manager is expected to select an unchanged side for the third successive game.