Gilks faces a tough choice

PUBLISHED: 10:55 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:29 10 September 2010

Norwich City's reserve goalkeeper Matthew Gilks wants first-team football next season - either at Carrow Road or elsewhere.

Gilks was signed by former manager Peter Grant on a free transfer from Rochdale last summer but is yet to make his debut for the club and wasn't even on the bench on Saturday against bottom-of-the-table Colchester United.

Norwich City's reserve goalkeeper Matthew Gilks wants first-team football next season - either at Carrow Road or elsewhere.

Gilks was signed by former manager Peter Grant on a free transfer from Rochdale last summer but is yet to make his debut for the club and wasn't even on the bench on Saturday against bottom-of-the-table Colchester United.

The 6ft 1in shot stopper has indicated that he couldn't continue as a number two for much longer, especially after it was revealed two clubs came in for him before today's loan deadline.

He said: “It's going to be now until the end of the season and we'll have talks then. I'll be 26 in June and I've been used to playing first-team football. You could say it's been a disappointing season from my point of view, not playing any games, but next season I'll be looking to play games, whether it be on loan or whether it be on a permanent basis.”

Gilks was left out of the squad to face the U's last Saturday as boss Glenn Roeder went for a very attacking line-up with three forwards on the bench, but was philosophical about his omission.

“He (Glenn Roeder) mentioned before the game that he was going to be positive and that he was going out to win and with a new striker coming in he was going to be on the bench as well as Ched Evans,” said Gilks. “We went all-out attack to win that game, which we really had to win and I'm not looking for the manager to come and give me explanations. It's his decision, that's football and I've got to live with that and move on.

“A couple of clubs came in for me, trying to get me on loan but obviously with the situation with goalkeepers at the club he can't afford to let me go, or he's not looking to let me go. Which is a bit unfortunate for me but then again it's up to the manager and I'm sure if there was a chance I could have gone, he wouldn't have stopped me from getting first-team football.”

Gilks is number two in the goalkeeping department for the Canaries, with Scotland international David Marshall the current owner of the number one jersey. Former Celtic 'keeper Marshall is the only ever-present in the Norwich squad but below Marshall and Gilks in the pecking order there is very little experience.

Steven Arnold, 18, is the only other keeper on professional terms, with 17-year-old Declan Rudd and 15-year-old Jed Steer both representing England at their respective youth levels, which means Gilks going out on loan would have left Roeder with three young goalkeepers without any first-team experience.

Norfolk's charms have not passed Gilks by, though.

He said: “I love the place, the city, the lads, the club is absolutely fantastic and it's disappointing for myself not to have broken into the squad but when there's a 'keeper like David Marshall in front of me who's young and an excellent goalkeeper, he's made it twice as hard for me.”

The City 'keepers are still working with Bryan Gunn as their goalkeeping coach after James Hollman left the club in mid-season and Gilks said he had enjoyed working with the former Scotland international.

“Bryan Gunn has been different, as well as very good in training, you know, a bit old school but Gunny's a great guy, he's a gent and it's been good for me and Marshy to have a bit of a change around,” said Gilks.

Gilks has featured mainly for the City Reserves this season and he played in their 2-2 draw at Southend's Roots Hall on Tuesday afternoon, where South African youngster Bally Smart scored both goals, and Gilks was impressed with what he saw.

He said: “He's very quick. I wouldn't like to chase him anywhere, I can tell you that. He's got attributes but he really needs to work on other sides of his game, like his positioning, but his pace is ridiculous and he tore their defence apart and he's another good young player that we've got.”

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