Reading legend Gilkes becomes Town assistant manager

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

JASON Bristow has appointed former Reading winger Michael Gilkes as his new assistant manager.

Gilkes, who is 47, spent 13 years with Reading in 1980s and 1990s and also played for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Millwall.

Since retiring as a player, he has remained involved at Reading, working part-time at the club’s academy, while he joins Town from Hungerford Town, where he had been coaching this season.

Bristow has been on the lookout for a new assistant since the departure of Kevin Braybrook, who left the club to take up a scouting post at Queens Park Rangers two weeks ago.

Bristow said: “The dugout has been a lonely place of late without an assistant but I have to thank the senior players, who have done their best to help me out.

“They have really given me their backing, but it is good to have Michael on board.

“I have known Michael for years through the Reading connection and he is a fantastic coach. He is also a great character and I think he is going to fit in really well.”

A move for Gilkes was predicted in the Gazette last week – and the former Reading star is delighted that the deal has gone through.

“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a really positive step for me and a new challenge.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and am looking forward to getting down to work.

“Basingstoke Town is a football club I have a lot of respect for.

“I played in pre-season games there years ago and always thought it was a good club, so I am looking forward to representing the club and the community.

“I have got a lot of time and respect for Jason and am looking forward to working with him.

“We seem to share the same ideas and he is the main reason why I have come to Basingstoke.”

After the euphoria of reaching the Blue Square Bet South play-offs last season, Town have made a poor start to the 2012-13 campaign, but Gilkes believes they have the quality to turn things around.

“In terms of results and points, things are not going great, but there are a lot of good things already in place and it is about getting the right balance,” he said. “There are quality players at the club and they proved that last year. “It won’t be long before things turn around.

“Having a couple of weeks without a game now gives us time to try a few things, have a look at the players and get the right balance.”

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