Gilks: Nobody Expected Evatt to Become a Manager

  • May 11, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Matt Gilks says none of Blackpool's infamous Premier League squad of 2010/11 would have foreseen Ian Evatt's move into management.

Gilks, who was named goalkeeping coach at Bolton following Evatt's appointment last summer, played alongside his current-day boss at Bloomfield Road between 2008 and 2013.

Following a brief stint in caretaker charge at Chesterfield, Evatt has since achieved promotion in two of his three full campaigns since retirement - with Barrow and Wanderers, respectively - earning himself a reputation as the EFL's most promising up-and-comer.

When quizzed by Sky Sports on whether he ever imagined Evatt moving into the dugout, Gilks said: "No, never!

"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."

After coming out of semi-retirement to displace Billy Crellin between the sticks this past November, Gilks went on to make 35 appearances as the Trotters secured promotion to League One on the final day of the campaign.

The 38-year-old is no stranger to success, having gone into the Premier League with Blackpool through the Championship play-offs in 2010, as well as being a part of the Lincoln City squad that won the League Two title in 2018/19, but he admits the story behind Wanderers' success puts it at the top of the list.

"I think this one is a little bit more special," he added.

"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.

"I was semi-retired. I still joined in, was capable and looked to prove a few doubters wrong that because I was getting old I couldn't do it anymore.

"We'll have to sit down and see whether I carry on another year but we will. I love football, I love my job and days like this with these people is just fantastic.

"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."

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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