MATT Gilks will soon push Billy Crellin for a first team spot at Wanderers, says Ian Evatt.
The goalkeeper coach has upped his workload in training and could push the current number one for his position in the coming weeks.
Former Scotland international Gilks has not played a senior game since turning out for Fleetwood in the Football League Trophy last September.
He registered as a player at the start of the season but had hoped to leave his gloves hung up at the age of 38.
Crellin’s form has been called into question in recent weeks and though he saved penalties against Bradford and Leyton Orient, the 20-year-old loanee is still struggling for consistency in his performance.
Asked whether Crellin has enough first team competition, Evatt told The Bolton News: “There is competition there because Matt Alexander is a good young keeper who is progressing. Do I think he’s ready to play week-in, week-out, now? No, is the answer.
“Gillo (Gilks) is our goalkeeper coach but was also brought in as a back-up. He is training and stepping up his training and he will provide competition for Billy.”
Evatt believes wayward finishing and poor decision making in the final third over the last few weeks has put more emphasis on mistakes Crellin has made during the course of the last few weeks.
Though the Wanderers boss has openly discussed his standpoint on the Fleetwood loanee, he remains confident he can find the consistency he craves, with a little help from his team-mates.
“Billy has a lot of positives to his game and obviously things are highlighted when you lose games. I don’t think that would be the case as much if we took our chances at the other end of the pitch,” he said.
“That’s the life of a goalkeeper, it’s difficult, and when you make mistakes they are highlighted because they normally cost goals and can cost games.
“Some of the mistakes Billy has made have not always been solely down to him – and also if we had taken our chances at the other end, where strikers sometimes get away with murder, it’s not at the front of people’s minds.
“Strikers can sometimes get chance after chance and then when one is taken people forget about it.
“If we start taking them it will take some pressure off Billy. So let’s, as a collective, do our job. If you are a striker, score, if you are a midfielder create and destroy, and if you are a defender, defend.
“Strip it back, that’s what we need. Do your individual job.”
Wanderers hope to have Nathan Delfouneso fit for kick-off but may otherwise have to shuffle their formation, with Arthur Gnahoua the only other likely starter.
The former Macclesfield Town man is not an out-and-out striker and though Shaun Miller may also be named on the bench, Evatt hopes the rest of the team can pick up some of the slack after several opportunities were wasted at Leyton Orient on Saturday.
“I think we had 17 shots with none on target, which isn’t a good stat for anyone,” he said.
“But we had 17 shots, so we’re getting in the right areas, it’s just about the final decision.
“Having no strikers fully fit, because Shaun Miller is back, is a worry. Arthur isn’t really a striker, he’s more of a wide player or a 10. But we haven’t got time to make excuses or feel sorry for ourselves, we have to move on and be positive. Whatever team I pick tomorrow will be one I think can win the game.”
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