Former Norwich City keepers prepare for Wembley

Goalkeeper Matt Gilks is preparing for a Wembley showdown with former colleague David Marshall - still convinced he had his best year with Norwich City despite not playing a first team game.

Goalkeeper Matt Gilks is preparing for a Wembley showdown with former colleague David Marshall - still convinced he had his best year with Norwich City despite not playing a first team game.

Blackpool's Gilks and Cardiff City's Marshall will be on opposite sides in Saturday's Championship play-off final, where they will have prime responsibility for not letting an estimated �90m prize slip through their fingers.

Both 'keepers were signed by former Norwich boss Peter Grant in the summer of 2007 and were training partners for a full season.

But while Marshall was ever-present after his move from Celtic under both Grant and his successor, Glenn Roeder, Gilks spent the year after his move from Rochdale on the bench, or sidelined by injury, and never played a senior game for the Canaries.


You may also want to watch:


Nevertheless, he still believes he was in his best shape ever as understudy to Marshall, a player he greatly admires.

"As well as being a fantastic goalkeeper he was a great bloke and we got on really well," said Gilks. "We helped each other and I still maintain I had my best season at Norwich even though I didn't play. I felt the best I ever have in training and I was in great nick.

Most Read

"I felt that I helped Marshy because I was pushing him so much. It was just unfortunate I didn't get an opportunity and I'd probably still be there if Glenn Roeder hadn't come in."

Gilks moved to Blackpool two years ago as part of the deal that brought Wes Hoolahan to Carrow Road, but his first season at Bloomfield Road was another frustrating one, with just six first team outings and a spell on loan at Shrewsbury.

Under manager Ian Holloway, however, the 27-year-old has played 31 times for the Seasiders in all competitions and has established himself as first choice.

He said: "On a personal note, I am thankful a manager came in and gave me a chance. I am back doing what I should be doing and I am really enjoying it.

"I knew we could do it as a group and I have proved a point to myself that I can do it as an individual as well. The two things have gone together really well and look what we've achieved - it is really fantastic.

"It's not the season that a lot of people thought it would turn out to be. So everyone connected and associated with the football club is more than delighted."

Gilks was on the bench for the two Championship meetings with Cardiff this season, both of which ended 1-1.

Marshall, 25, will be making his 50th appearance of the season for Cardiff at Wembley, after being the first member of City's relegated side to secure a move to the Championship last May, just nine days after their fate was sealed in a 4-2 defeat at Charlton, the last of his 105 games for the club.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus