Mallik Wilks interview: ‘I honestly believe we can get promotion’

Mallik Wilks. Photo: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Mallik Wilks. Photo: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

If Rovers supporters needed an example of what Mallik Wilks is all about, they got it in the friendly with Sheffield United.

Breaking from the half way line, he went shoulder to shoulder with experienced Championship operator Richard Stearman - a centre half with more than 300 appearances in the second tier.

Just when you expected Stearman to use his wealth of knowledge and smarts to get the better of the situation, 19-year-old Wilks shrugged him off to continue his run.

“I sent him to the shop,” is how he described the incident afterwards. “He’s on his way back now.”

Interviewing the Leeds United loanee provides a contradiction.

He is not the most confident interviewee, yet he is clearly very confident in how own abilities and potential.

And he was not about to let his career hit a period of stagnation this season.

“I was training at Leeds, just with the U23s and not really around the first team so I didn’t really want to stay there,” he said.

“And I didn’t want to go back to League Two because I won the league last season.

“I only wanted to move forward and progress.

“A few clubs came in, Doncaster being one of them and it looked like being the best option so I just took it up.

“I felt like with the system the gaffer plays, it suits me.

“I feel like I will get more game time.

“With different League One teams I thought I might be more on the bench.”

Wilks enjoyed a good spell on loan with eventual League Two champions Accrington Stanley in the first half of last season.

But he feels supporters in Lancashire did not get to see the best of him as he was often restricted to substitute appearances.

And that is something he is desperate to avoid in his latest loan switch.

“It was a good spell at Accrington,” he said.

“It was a bit irritating because I was known more there as a super sub.

“I know I could do more and I thought I could start more.

“The gaffer there, John Coleman, is a great manager but he had his favourites.

“Once you’ve got your favourites, that clique is there and it’s hard to get into.

“I’m going to fight for that starting place here.

“No one is going to take my shirt.”

Wilks spotted an opportunity for regular starts within the 4-3-3 system of new Rovers boss Grant McCann.

And he insists he will deliver the aggressive approach the manager craves.

“The way he plays it, it gets players up the pitch, sets us up for counterattacks and kills teams,” Wilks said.

“You have to give it to the defence. They’ve got to be brave.

“At points during the game it’ll be 2v1 but if they defend well it’ll pay off.

“I will continue taking players on.

“I’ve got pace and power so I’m hard to live with.

“I’m quick, skilful, a lot of power, strong and I’m not afraid to shoot.”

There is no doubt that Wilks is raring to go on Saturday as Rovers visit Southend United - and he will certainly be bringing the aggression.

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said.

“I can’t wait to give it to someone.

“There’s a good group of lads here.

“I honestly believe we can get promotion.”