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Clarets bring in keeper Gilks
GOALKEEPER Matthew Gilks will be introduced to his new team-mates on Burnley’s return to pre-season training today, after signing a two-year contract at Turf Moor, on the day that Michael Duff committed to his 11th season with the Clarets.
Steven Reid is also set for talks with manager Sean Dyche this week about the possibility of a free transfer having left West Brom at the end of his contract.
Scotland international Gilks was unveiled as the Clarets’ second summer signing yesterday.
The 32-year-old was also a free agent after opting against taking up Blackpool’s new contract offer at the end of his sixth year with the Tangerines.
In that time he established himself as the club’s number one, won promotion to the Premier League in 2010 and was capped by Scotland in 2012.
And he is not fazed by the challenge of pushing Tom Heaton for the number one jersey.
“I know there’s a strong goalkeeping pool here and Tom was absolutely fantastic last season.
“He’s been a massive reason why Burnley are in the Premier League, so I know it’s going to be tough.
“But I think in the Premier League you need competition for places and if I can keep the lads here on their toes and between us we help keep the club in this division, then that’s what it’s all about.”
Gilks’ arrival, which boosts the goalkeeping ranks back up to four alongside Alex Cisak and young stopper Daniel Nizic, makes him the first new face to be added to Dyche’s Premier League bound squad.
Michael Kightly became the Burnley boss’s first summer signing, but that move came on the back of a full season on loan from Stoke City.
Duff’s new deal, meanwhile, comes almost 10 years to the day after he first arrived for just £30,000 from Cheltenham.
And at 36 the central defender is relishing his second stab at top flight football, five years after the first time.
“I wanted to stay, obviously, because it’s another chance in the Premier League and following the season we had getting there last season,” said the Northern Ireland international, whose terms do not – as initially thought – include a designated coaching role.
“It took me until I was 30 to get there the first time around and then I was injured for the first three months.
“That, and getting relegated, made it a disappointment, so to get another opportunity at 36, when you think it may have gone, was something to grab with both hands – and with the team we had last season, plus a few additions, I’m sure we can kick on and surprise a few people.”
Previous Premier League experience for both Gilks and Duff could be enhanced by Reid.
The former Republic of Ireland midfielder, who has more recently been converted to a right back, is weighing up his options after coming to the end of his contract with West Brom.
At 33, it is likely he will look to prolong his playing career, but there is a possibility that he may look to make the move into coaching.
Reid started out at Millwall, where he was team-mates with Clarets boss Dyche in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
He made a £2.5million move in July 2003 to Blackburn Rovers, where he played in more than 100 Premier League games.
The Londoner went on to join West Brom on a free transfer in the summer of 2010, after ending the previous season on loan at The Hawthorns.
Reid, who is understood to prefer to stay in the north of England, is expected to meet with Dyche this week to discuss his future.