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Gilks on playing on at Wanderers and Why he didn't see Evatt as a manager

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Matt Gilks fancies carrying on in goal next season – but will chat with Ian Evatt before making a firm decision either way.

The Wanderers keeper came out of semi-retirement in November to take on the gloves and help transform the club’s fortunes.

Gilks, who will turn 39 next month, kept 16 clean sheets in 35 appearances as the Whites raced up the league to claim an automatic promotion spot.

Bolton brought in Andy Fairman to lighten the coaching load on Gilks during the season but 20 years after his professional debut for Rochdale, the veteran says he still has a huge appetite to play in League One.

"We'll have to sit down and see whether I carry on another year but we will,” he said. “I love football, I love my job.

"I'm still fit, I'm still able and I can hold my own. I don't see why not - you're a long time retired, that's what everyone keeps telling me, but it remains to be seen whether the manager wants me to or not."

Gilks has experienced promotions with Blackpool and Lincoln, played in the Premier League in England and Scotland, and won international caps.

But he says joining ex-Bloomfield Road team-mates Ian Evatt’s coaching staff last summer and turning Wanderers around ranks as high as anything he has achieved in the game.

"I think this one is a little bit more special," he said after promotion. "Being with a manager who I played with, Alex Baptiste who I'd played with as well - it means a lot to us.

"To see where the club was at the start of the season, we were recovering from what had happened and we're still sifting through that now. I'm quite lucky to know, on both sides, what is happening. It's been really difficult but we've got through it.

"We turned it around at the end of January and just haven't looked back.

"It's belief. We've got a fantastic owner in Sharon Brittan who stood by us, believed in us, backed us and we couldn't ask any more from her. She's been fantastic with the staff.

"We had a good January. We got some good players in who have made a massive difference and I'd like to think I made a contribution as well.

"It's been a massive effort, a club effort. With the climate as it is at the moment, it's been a monumental effort and days like this are what you play football for.”

Speaking to Sky Sports, Gilks admitted he did not see Evatt as management material when he played alongside him at Blackpool.

"No, never!” he said. "You can ask any of the lads in that team as well. I think the one person who did was him!

"But I did my coaching badges with him and saw a different side. A side where he probably knew he was coming to the end of his career and he had to have something to go in to.

"I think that caused that different side and he knuckled down a bit.

"He loves the game and I think he's shown his qualities as a manager in the short space of time that he's done it. We've got a fantastic manager and couldn't ask for any more."


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