Bartosz Bialkowski

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Bartosz Bialkowski is a Polish goalkeeper, born on 6th July 1987. He began his career at Gornik Zabrze and made his debut for the Polish club in October 2004. He made seven appearances in total for Gornik, before moving to George Burley's Southampton in January 2006. Bialkowski had caught Burley's eye when he was on trial at his former club Hearts earlier in the season.

Bialkowski made his debut for Southampton in a home match against Crystal Palace on 25th January 2006 in a 0-0 draw and put in a very assured performance. He kept 4 clean sheets in his first 6 matches at the club, which led many fans to believe he would be first choice keeper for many years to come. Unfortunately for Bialkowski though, he would suffer a nasty injury in an FA Cup 5th round tie at Newcastle which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

By the time Bialkowski returned in November 2006, George Burley had brought Kelvin Davis to the club. Davis was immediately installed as the number one goal keeper at St Mary's and would not give up his position even when Bialkowski returned. He would have to sit patiently on the bench until March 2007 when Kelvin Davis received a three game ban. Bialkowski seized his opportunity to impress as he saved a penalty in the 6-0 win at Wolves and generally performed well enough to keep Davis on the bench when he returned from his suspension. Bialkowski would however lose his starting berth for the second leg of the play-off semi final at Derby after a mistake in the first leg.

Bialkowski started the first game of the 2007/08 season ahead of Kelvin Davis in against Crystal Palace. Unfortunately things didn't go too well for the Polish keeper, who had a poor game in the 4-1 defeat to The Eagles. Bialkowski failed to communicate with the disastrous centre back partnership of Alan Bennett and Chris Makin. He was also in goal two days later as Saints crashed out of the League Cup at Peterborough. That would be the young keeper's final match of the season. He would have received a run out as number one in March when Kelvin Davis was ruled out, but sustained another injury of his own, which kept him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Bialkowski’s 2008/09 season was limited to just three Carling Cup appearances as Kelvin Davis kept him out of the side with his consistently outstanding performances. Bart was loaned to Ipswich in March but would fail to make a first team start for the Portman Road side. He did appear for The Tractor Boy’s reserve side however, and was sent off for them in his first match.

Bialkowski joined Barnsley on loan in September 2009 and played two matches for The Tykes. He returned to Southampton shortly after and made his first start of the season for Saints in the Football League trophy against Charlton. He had a run in the first team when Kelvin Davis was injured at Hartlepool on November 24th. By this time the Polish keeper was communicating a lot more with his defence, something he failed to do in his early years at the club. He stopped two penalties as Southampton edged past Norwich in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarter-finals. He made his final appearance of the 2009/10 season at Colchester on December 2009.

Reports from Portugal in the summer of 2010 suggested Bialkowski was set to sign for Champions League qualifiers Braga. Nothing ever came from those rumours however, as he signed a new two year deal with an option of a further two years at Saints. The Pole made his first appearance of the season in the FA Cup against Cheltenham. His only other appearances that season also came in the same competition against Blackpool where he was very impressive and against Manchester United.

Bialkowski endured a fairly traumatic 2011/12 season. He dropped a clanger in a friendly with West Brom on July 27th, which was a sign of things to come. Bialkowski started League Cup matches for Saints, but looked decidedly shaky. To his credit he did pull of one world class save against Torquay on August 9th 2011. Bialkowski's one and only league appearance on December 10th was a total disaster. The Pole let a weak shot go straight through his body, costing Saints a goal against Blackpool. It wasn't his only mistake that match, Bialkowski looked awful throughout. He fared slightly better in the FA Cup, but still couldn't stop Saints from crashing out at the 4th round stage.

Bialkowski was released by Southampton in May 2012. He signed a three year deal with Notts County in June 2012.