MATT Gilks has paid tribute to Blackpool’s goalkeeping coach, claiming George Wood played a huge part in making last season his best yet.
The Scotland international swept the board at Pool’s end-of-season awards dinner and was named The Gazette’s player of the year.
And Gilks puts his form down to former Seasider Wood, saying: “Last season was probably the best one I’ve had as a professional.
“George Wood came in as the goalkeeper coach and made such a difference to me.
“I don’t think people realise what a good relationship I have with him.
“To have someone to speak to and who would stick up for me at times was massive for me last season.
“He’s been a pillar of strength for me and hopefully he will be again next season.
Gilks, who turned 30 last month, has made 91 appearences for the Seasiders since joining from Norwich City in the summer of 2008.
And, as modest as ever, he was quick to play down his impact on the side.
He added: “I’m doing my bit for my team and that’s how I look at it.
“At the end of the day, as a goalkeeper I can’t score goals, so we’ve just got to do what we can.”
Pool’s successful run towards the play-offs last season was built on their superb defensive record.
Ian Evatt, who helped Gilks keep six clean sheets in the last ten games, was quick to praise his team-mate.
The centre-half said: “You could see the belief and the confidence the players had in him last season. He’s as mad as a hatter but different class for the club.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but if we’d had a fit Matt Gilks for the whole of the Premier League season we’d still be in there now.”