Keeper joins as back-up for Gilks

Mark Howard
Mark Howard
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MATT Gilks will be fit to take his place in the starting line-up for the Seasiders trip today – but there’s new back-up just in case.

Pool have signed 25-year-old keeper Mark Howard, who has agreed terms after being released by Aberdeen in the summer. He was out of contract and unattached, hence he was able to join in between the transfer windows.

Howard’s signature was rushed through yesterday, with both Gilks and number two keeper Mark Halstead struggling with injury.

Gilks has a sore hamstring, but has come through training OK, and is set to start at Portsmouth today. But Halstead’s groin is still causing him problems, and he is likely to miss out.

Howard has joined the squad at their hotel in Portsmouth, and will be on the bench if boss Ian Holloway decides to go with a stopper among his substitutes.

Last week he took a gamble, and went with five outfield players on the bench.

“We’re glad Mark has accepted the terms we offered him,” said Holloway.

“We took a look at him in a couple of behind-closed-doors practice games, and he looked solid. We had four keepers last year, and we started this season with only two, so we needed somebody else and I’m pleased Mark has joined.”