Latics keeper Matt Gilks says he feels like ‘the search is over’ now he has settled at his new club.
A deadline day arrival from Rangers, former Blackpool keeper Gilks is rediscovering what it feels like to be part of a team of what he calls ‘fighters’.
Everyone keeps saying I’m old, and it doesn’t help with the grey hair, but I’m only 34!Matt Gilks
A spell at Rangers failed to spark for Gilks, a Scotland international, but after keeping two clean sheets in two games ahead of Tuesday’s trip to QPR, including denying Preston’s Jordan Hugill from the spot last Saturday, the stopper is refreshed by the team spirit at Latics.
“I see in the dressing room a lot of what we had at Blackpool,” he said.
“We were good lads, we were fighters, we had honest, honest people.
“And I really see a lot of that around me in the dressing room now.
“We have experienced players who are up for the fight.
“It’s probably something I’ve been searching for ever since I left Blackpool.
“You know the type of players you want to be playing with week in, week out, and we’ve certainly got that in abundance. Hopefully the fans can see we’re up for the fight as well.”
After a spell at Ibrox in which he only made five appearances, Gilks feels he has something to prove as he bids to help Latics avoid a swift return to League One, and he says the chance to spend more minutes on the pitch was a factor in his decision to make the switch to Wigan.
“Everyone keeps saying I’m old, and it doesn’t help with the grey hair, but I’m only 34,” he joked.
“I’ve got a few years left in me...I look at Jussi (Jaaskelainen) and think I’ve got quite a few years left!
“I feel I’ve got a lot to prove. I went to Rangers and it wasn’t really a successful move, even though I thought I warranted a few starts here and there when things weren’t going well.
“I didn’t get that, and I didn’t want to be sitting on the bench game after game.
“I want to play football, and that was behind my decision to come here.”
While grateful to land a place in the team, Gilks would have liked his selection to have come under different circumstances as Jakob Haugaard’s injury opened the door for the new arrival to prove himself.
And with Jaaskelainen also sidelined with a foot problem, Gilks’ place in the packing order appears safe, with youngster Theo Roberts moving up to the bench.
“Thankfully I’ve got in the team straight away - although unfortunately it’s because of an injury to Jakob, which we don’t want to see,” acknowledged Gilks.
“But hopefully I can do my bit and help us get out of the situation we’re in.”
On Haugaard’s injury he explained: “That’s football. Injuries are part and parcel of the game, and one man’s misfortune tends to mean an opportunity for someone else.”