Gilks given no favours
CHRIS LAKEY Matthew Gilks makes his first return to Rochdale since his summer move from Spotland to Carrow Road - but manager Peter Grant says there will be no room for sentiment when it comes to team selection.
Matthew Gilks makes his first return to Rochdale since his summer move from Spotland to Carrow Road - but manager Peter Grant says there will be no room for sentiment when it comes to team selection.
Gilks played almost 200 games for Rochdale - who City beat 4-0 in aggregate in a two-legged League Cup final back in 1962 - in a seven-year career and didn't miss a game in his final two seasons.
But his free transfer to Norwich in the summer was soon followed by the arrival of David Marshall, and Gilks has had to play second fiddle ever since.
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However, his chance for a first senior start could come, but only if Grant chooses not to risk a slight hip injury that Marshall sustained at Hull on Saturday.
“Obviously it is a decision I have to make, and the right decision - I am not one for giving favours,” said Grant.
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“I think the most important favour you can give them is going out and winning the game. We will see how Marshall's injury is and if he isn't fit to play, Gilks would have no problem going in.”
Grant says he has sympathy with the 25-year-old stopper, who missed out on the early pre-season matches because of a slight knee injury and then had to sit on the bench as Marshall was given much-needed game time after his own injury, dating back to the FA Cup tie at Chelsea last February.
“He has been fantastic since he came here,” said the City boss. “Any other time he would have played some more minutes in games, even in pre-season. He couldn't do the start of it, because I just thought it was important that Marshall got his game legs again because of the fact he had been out since last February and it is unfortunate for Gilks.
“He's done nothing wrong and he's a fantastic kid, a great character with a great work ethic and he is really looking forward to going back to see his friends.
“The amount of clean sheets he has had at that ground is important as well and he's putting a bit of pressure on Marshall.
“We are very, very pleased to have him, he was a big plus for Rochdale and he is a big plus for us because he is pushing Marshall all the time. I am very happy with the competition with these two guys.”
Another player who needs game time is midfielder Julien Brellier, who is still catching up on his fitness levels.
“He knows he is still short of the games he needs and the fitness work he needs,” said Grant.
“To be fair to the boy the first day he came in here he said about his fitness levels because that is a big part of his game, and you can still see it sometimes. He is off the game a little bit in front of the back four, and I don't want him really to be playing there, I want him playing up against the midfield. When he does that he's a better player and I think that comes with fitness levels coming up. When he gets close to the opposition he does it well, but he seems to be doing it in fits and starts.
“We will know he is fully back when he is doing it for the full 90 minutes.”