Bolton have made two more signings today – including an appointment to the new-look coaching structure.
Goalkeeper Matt Gilks has arrived from Fleetwood – he will be registered as a player but he will also serve as goalkeeping coach in Ian Evatt’s new regime.
Evatt, who played with Gilks at Blackpool, said, “He is a fantastic character and, after a stellar playing career, he moves into an exciting new role. Matt has a wealth of knowledge to give our goalkeepers and will be a huge asset for this football club.”
Gilks signed for Lincoln in January 2019, and played 12 games in the second half of that season when they won League Two. While he’s capable of being the number one keeper for us at this level, his coaching job would probably mean he’ll be number two at best, so the question is whether Matt Alexander is number two, and Gilks purely plays in an emergency, or Alexander is one of the number of players Evatt plans to send out on loan to get experience. The quote from the boss would suggest Gilks would only be an emergency option.
Gilks has never formally being part of the club before, but he does have previous with Wanderers: “I was fortunate enough to train here when I was just starting out as a young lad,” he told the club website. “I spent a number of years training with Fred Barber (former goalkeeper coach), Jussi Jaaskelainen and Steve Banks during the Sam Allardyce era and I’m forever indebted to this football club for the part they played in my upbringing as a professional footballer.”
The club have also signed another wing-back, Jak Hickman has signed after leaving Coventry City at the end of last season. There’s some worry in this signing, Hickman was turfed out at Coventry after a video of him being pretty disrespectful to the club made it into the public domain. He spent last season on loan in the seventh tier of English football.
You would hope he’s learned his lesson from that, he has been training with the club for a few weeks, and Evatt seems to be happy with what he has seen. He also addressed the previous incident: “I am all for giving people a chance and we have had him in over an extensive period to test him technically, tactically, physically and, more importantly, mentally; he came through with flying colours. Jak has learned his lesson and has my full support.”
Hickman himself said: “I’ve made mistakes in my past but I’ve learned from them. The experiences have made me a better player and a better person. I’m looking forward to this next chapter and moving in a positive direction to help the club get back to where it should be. Bolton is a massive club and speaks for itself.”
Hickman is an attacking full-back who fits the Evatt mould, I still expect Gethin Jones to be first choice, given the added experience the Welshman has. Hickman seems to have realised the gravity of what he has done in the past, hopefully that push him on and prove people wrong.