Gills defender ready for the start of the new season
Gills full back Matt Fish says he is now eager to get the season underway and begin challenging once more for a promotion place in npower League Two.
Fish started the game against Watford on Tuesday but ended up on the losing side for the first time in pre-season after the Hornets ran out 3-0 winners at Priestfield, but the right back said the team should take heart from their performance against Charlton and use that as a confidence booster for the start of the new campaign.
He said: “They [Watford] brought a young team down and they wanted to pass it too but I think we did really well. On Saturday against Charlton they had their first team out and in the first half I thought we were the better team.
“In the second half they got more of the ball but I thought we looked sharp and fit – the way the gaffer has got us playing everyone is enjoying it and everyone wants to get on the ball.”
Fish was asked how he would assess his own personal pre-season campaign.
He replied: “It’s been my toughest pre-season but I think I have done alright- some of the boys have come back really fit but we have had double sessions and then went to France for five days but the boys want to get going now.
“Sometimes pre-season can drag a little bit and you just want to get in to the mix.
“I like the way the gaffer plays, he wants me to get high in that attacking full back position and that’s the best part of my game.
“Sometimes I feel I’m the highest player on the pitch which is a bit different but I’m loving it and the more he wants me to get on I am not going to turn it down.
“The shirt is up for grabs and hopefully I can cement my place for the season.
“We will prepare for the cup game and then on the Saturday against Bradford here it starts all over again.”
Fish is under no illusions that he will have to fight for his place, and admitted he was slightly shocked to see Barry Fuller leave Priestfield.
He said: “I was surprised to see Baz go, he’s a top man and I am sure he will do well at whatever club he goes to. I learnt a lot off him defensive wise, he’s a top defender and we have Jack Evans who can play there aswell.
“Just because there is a younger right back that doesn’t mean I am going to be playing there every week – the gaffer might bring someone else in so it’s up to me to perform week in, week out and keep the shirt.”
The level of competition for places in the team is fierce at the moment, and Fish says the squad are fully aware that they need to deliver the goods at every opportunity.
He said: “The gaffer has brought a couple of new players in – we have four strikers, four centre halves and a few midfielders so people can’t not put a shift in on a Saturday and still expect to be in the team.
“Your place is there to be taken by someone else.”
The defender is struggling with a slight ankle knock but says the backroom staff have been eager to stop any injuries appearing and is now anxious to get into competitive action.
He said: “I’m fine – I need to keep strengthening it up, keep it strapped and I’ll be ready to go.
“We have James Russell who seems to be on top of pre-match warm ups and post-match warm downs. We do things before we train, we go in to the gym at 10 o’clock every day to get our bodies going, there are ice baths, the pool and massages etc. but touch wood we have been fine injuries wise and the ankle is fine so hopefully we will all be fit and raring to go for the season.
“It’s been six weeks of just running, I’m sick of it – I want to get out there and run up and down with the ball. Sometimes you can have too many pre-season games and it gets a bit samey but this season we lost just one game so the boys are ready for us to get going now and get promoted hopefully.”