Gilks gets chance to impress gaffer
DAVID CUFFLEY Goalkeeper Matthew Gilks comes in from the cold tonight - ready to make his first Norwich City appearance. After training in conditions described as “horrendous” by manager Peter Grant, the Canaries play the second match of their tour of Holland against FC Zwolle in Harderwijk (7pm CET).
Goalkeeper Matthew Gilks comes in from the cold tonight - ready to make his first Norwich City appearance.
After training yesterday in conditions described as “horrendous” by manager Peter Grant, the Canaries play the second match of their tour of Holland against FC Zwolle in Harderwijk (7pm CET).
The 25-year-old Gilks, a Bosman free transfer from Rochdale last month, has not figured in City's first four pre-season games, when David Marshall, Paul Gallacher, Joe Lewis and Steven Arnold have shared duties between the posts.
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But the 6ft 1in Gilks will get his chance this evening against the men from the Eerste Divisie, the Dutch equivalent of the Championship.
“Matty Gilks will play his first game,” said Grant. “I'd like to think he'll play the full 90 minutes. It's very important for him.”
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Gilks, who signed on a two-year contract, has been slightly behind with his training after recovering from a cleaning-up operation on his knee following two seasons of solid first-team football with Rochdale, but is now raring to go.
“He's trained very well, done excellently but I think he needs a game,” said Grant.
City will not select tonight's side until Grant has conducted the latest injury check.
Strikers Chris Brown and Jamie Cureton have been added to the doubtful list, with French midfielder Julien Brellier almost certainly ruled out by a thigh injury and star forward Darren Huckerby already back home after a scan on a groin strain.
“We'll see how the rest of them are. A big percentage of them trained both sessions yesterday - apart from Brellier, Brown and Cureton,” said Grant.
“With Chris, someone blasted the ball straight at his toe. We thought he'd got a bad one at first, but it's just a little bit sore. Jamie's groin is a bit tight. I don't want to take a chance with either of them. Obviously Hucks won't play and Brellier probably not.”
There may also be a late decision over midfielder Youssef Safri, who has a slight thigh strain and missed Saturday's 2-0 win over AGOVV Apeldoorn.
“We'll see how he is. He's another one who says his quads are tight,” said the City boss.
Zwolle are no strangers to British opposition. They have already lost 2-0 to Wigan and drawn 1-1 with Falkirk in their pre-season schedule. Last season they finished ninth in their division, just outside the play-off positions.
Said Grant: “No doubt about it, Zwolle will be tougher. They're a first division club, very ambitious.
“Each game we play before the season starts will raise the tempo. Saturday was harder than King's Lynn and this will be tougher again.
“They're big, fit, strong, and have high expectations.”
City's preparations yesterday were not helped by rough weather conditions.
“It's been horrendous,” said Grant. “The wind and the rain just seemed to come out of nowhere just as we started training. It was down to 11 degrees in the morning. It was more like December than July.
“But to be fair, the boys' attitude has been excellent. They're still working their socks off.
“We have had two sessions most days, plus gym work, and they have been working really hard. That's what you have to do - to get a lot of work into them. But playing matches is a different situation again.”