Wednesday 02 July 2014
Burnley have completed their second signing of the summer with the addition of former Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks to their squad.
Gilks, who arrives as a free agent and follows the signing of Michael Kightly from Stoke City, has agreed a two-year deal at Turf Moor, subject to Premier League and FA approval.
The Rochdale-born 32-year-old began his career with his hometown club, where he spent seven seasons and made almost 200 appearances, before joining Norwich City in 2007.
After 12 months at Carrow Road, where injuries restricted his playing time, he joined Blackpool and soon established himself as a first-team regular, helping the Seasiders win promotion to the Barclays Premier League in 2010.
Gilks, who has been capped three times by Scotland, joins Tom Heaton, the first-choice goalkeeper, Alex Cisak and youngster Daniel Nizic in the Clarets' goalkeeping pool and will link up with his new team-mates on their return to pre-season training later this week.
“I know there’s a strong goalkeeping pool here and Tom was absolutely fantastic last season," Gilks told the Burnley website. “I’m surprised he didn’t make the divisional team, but he’s been a massive reason why Burnley are in the Premier League, so I know it’s going to be tough.
“But 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.”
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Burnley also announced that their long-serving defender Michael Duff has signed a new one-year deal.
The 36-year-old Northern Ireland international, who is the only remaining player from the club’s last foray into the Barclays Premier League in 2009, will begin an 11th season with at Turf Moor.
“It took me until I was 30 to get there [the Barclays Premier League] the first time around and then I was injured for the first three months," he told the Burnley website. “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.”
Belfast-born Duff joined for just £30,000 in July 2004 after starting more than 200 league matches for Cheltenham Town. He has proved a key player under Owen Coyle, Brian Laws, Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche and, early in the 2013/14 campaign made his 300th appearances for the Clarets.
Duff's longevity and form was also recognised with an international recall following a near four-year absence in February 2012. Duff believes that his age will be a barrier to success in the top flight.
"Last season I played every game I was fit and felt I probably had my best season here," he said. “I still feel fit and although people might say that at my age I should be retiring, as a lot of my mates have, I feel good.
“The physical data we get from every game comes back and I’m no better or worse than anyone else in the team, so I feel I look after myself and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Burnley begin their schedule of pre-season friendlies against Austrian side Grossklein on 20 July. They kick off their Barclays Premier League campaign at home to Chelsea on 16 August.