Andy Lochhead: New stopper’s experience key for Burnley
IF you’ll pardon the pun, I believe we have a safe pair of hands in Matthew Gilks.
It’s an added bonus for my that he is a Scotland international. It’s his vast experience at domestic level – including a season in the Premier League with Blackpool – that makes him a very good signing for Burnley.
Of course, after the season Tom Heaton had last year to help the Clarets win promotion, those gloves won’t be easily wrestled from his grasp.
But I’m sure Matthew understands that.
This is a new challenge for him. After six years at Bloomfield Road he felt it was time to move on and Burnley is the ideal step for him because it is a chance to be involved at the top level again.
His arrival gives some serious competition in that position and that can only be a good thing. Because with the former Rochdale and Norwich City stopper breathing down his neck it will bring the very best out in Tom.
He will know that he must stay on top of his game, otherwise he has someone waiting in the wings to come in and take his place. I’m sure they will bring out the best in each other.
It is a signing that was needed to really bolster that department following promotion to the Premier League.
I’m not sure Alex Cisak was sufficient as back-up in the top flight, and it would not surprise me to see him go out on loan at some stage over the next few weeks and months.
Michael Duff is another signing – or rather re-signing – that I’m glad to see made. He is a stalwart of Burnley Football Club and deserves his new deal. Hopefully this one-year contract can lead to another in 12 months’ time.
I remember when he first arrived at the club and he will be looking forward to another crack at Premier League football.
I’m sure after the last time he probably thought it would never come round again, so he will be looking to make the most of it.
He had an excellent season in one of the Championship’s tightest defences to play his part in promotion, and formed an excellent defensive double act with captain Jason Shackell.
While he might have lost a bit of pace over the years, when that happens it makes you use your head and tap into your football know-how more to compensate. I still expect to see him being dominant in the air and making those tackles.