PILKS: COUNTY FACE FIGHT FOR KEEPERS
Bart and Fab are too good – we’ll get offers
NOTTS County’s abundance of riches in goal could lead to one of their stars leaving Meadow Lane this summer, says goalkeeping coach Kevin Pilkington.
Both Bartosz Bialkowski and his 19-year-old understudy Fabian Spiess have been attracting attention from Championship clubs after a string of fine displays.
Former Manchester United keeper Pilkington ranks exPoland U21 international Bialkowski, below, as the best in League One.
The 25-year-old was a surprise arrival in the summer after leaving Premier Leaguebound Southampton, but 14 clean sheets in all competitions before this weekend have come as no shock to Pilkington.
And with German Spiess linked with a move to a number of top clubs including both Manchester giants, Pilkington believes County could be receiving some unwanted bids.
“In my opinion Bart is the best in the league. He’s been very consistent throughout the season and kept us in an awful lot of games,” said Pilkington.
“Bart has been almost an ever present and been in superb form. If I’m honest we were surprised to get him when he left Southampton in the summer, but it was great for us to be able to get a keeper of that quality .
“Fabian’s a great prospect. When he’s been given the chance he’s come in and done well in the six or so games he’s had. It’s inevitable that they’ll be linked with moves, and it’s not surprising given the talent they both have.
“It would be great if they could both stay, but I’ve no doubt that both could play at a higher level.” Veteran Pilkington, now 39, is still registered as a player for the Magpies and came to his side’s rescue in their 2-1 defeat against Brentford on Good Friday.
Bialkowski fell ill at halftime, while Spiess was injured, meaning Pilkington – whose last game for County was the final match of the 2008/09 season and last competitive game was for Luton last January – was asked to step in.
That Griffin Park game also brought up his 150th for the Magpies, having been stuck on 149 for almost four years, and Pilkington thought he’d never reach the landmark.
“It was a bit of a surprise to find myself in a Notts shirt again. I had five years with the club and didn’t think I’d be back again,” he added.
“My last game for Notts would have been about three or four years ago, my last actual competitive game was last January for Luton, so it’s been a while, but I enjoyed being back out there, and I felt confident. “I’ve been sitting on the bench just as back up really, but I’ve still been keeping myself sharp in training.
“It was obviously nice to get to that 150 landmark as well – 149 was a bit of a funny number to leave it on.
“It was certainly unexpected, but if needed I’m there. I registered myself for an emergency like this and I’m willing to do it again. We’ll see what happens.”
CLASSY: Fabian Spiess
DESIRE: Alex Revell