Ollie backs keeper to make his Mark

Blackpool's Mark Halstead
Blackpool's Mark Halstead
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BLACKPOOL are keen to strengthen ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline – but they won’t be adding a goalkeeper.

Manager Ian Holloway insists he has more than enough quality between the sticks in Matt Gilks and Mark Halstead.

Halstead spent the second half of last season as Gilks’ deputy after Mark Howard joined Sheffield United.

And Holloway is more than confident in the 21-year-old’s ability.

He revealed: “Matt Gilks is being pushed so hard by Mark Halstead.

“Mark is maturing and I could easily have picked him at the start of the season.

“He’s been phenomenal in pre-season and Gilo will tell you that.”

Halstead came through the club’s youth system and was being monitored by a number of Premier League clubs before signing a professional contract at Bloomfield Road in 2009.

Despite being a regular on the bench, his only league appearance was as a second-half substitute at Chelsea in Pool’s Premier League season.

Holloway added: “If Mark gets his head on right, who knows how good he can be?

“I believe Mark is one hell of a goalie. He’s technically very gifted. He just needs games.”

Halstead had a difficult 2011/12 season and was publicly criticised by Stockport manager Jim Gannon during a loan spell which included a 7-0 defeat by Grimsby.

But he has made huge progress this summer under the watchful eye of goalkeeping coach and former Pool No.1 George Wood.

Holloway added: “I’m just delighted to have George Wood working with the keepers. He’s absolutely brilliant.

“He gets all our names wrong but I don’t care. He’s a fantastic bloke.

“I can’t coach goalies. I know what they do wrong but I can’t coach them.

“So George has made such a difference for us. He’s been a top man.”