Gills Manager believes squad are ready for new season
Martin Allen has praised the work ethic and attitude of his squad after the club completed its pre-season campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Watford at MEMS Priestfield on Tuesday evening.
Matej Vydra (2) and Connor Smith got the goals in the first half, and despite a valiant effort after the break, the Gills were unable to get back into the match.
The starting 11 contained some younger players, and the manager was pleased with the spirit they showed.
Speaking after the game he said: “We had to change the system in the first half because after 20 minutes it looked like they were scoring for fun.
“One of them was lucky but that’s OK, that’s going to happen and we hit the post in the second half and another chance went over the bar so there’s those bits and pieces to take into account.
“You’ve seen the spirit of the players and it wasn’t an easy day for them as they were in from two o’clock for their pictures and photographs to be done so it was not in any way, shape or form the right way to prepare for a game.
“Sitting around for five and a half hours isn’t right but they dug in, showed a bit of courage and I’m very pleased with them.”
Losing to Watford was the first defeat Martin Allen has suffered as first team manager, but admits the new season will be full of mixed emotions.
He said: “There’s going to be ups and downs, let’s not kids ourselves, there will be ups and downs for the next 10 months but I think the supporters could see from the second half when we added some senior players we looked much stronger, they all look happy and there is no shouting or raving.
“We have very few injuries and what we have got is minor so hopefully by the time the Bradford game comes around we will be at full strength.
“You have to be careful at times not to go chasing results because the important thing is the long term goal which is fitness, power, strength, conditioning and flexibility. We train hard a day before games and you see how the players react, it’s all been part of their training.
“Everybody is off for two days now to take a break, take time out. They have all worked so hard since I have been here and I’m very proud of them all. Their attitude, discipline and focus is good and they’ve done really well.
“We are in Friday, the players are off Saturday and me and John Schofield will go up to Notts County to watch Bradford play in the afternoon and then Sunday and Monday we will train. On Tuesday afternoon, my birthday, we go off to Bristol City for the first game.”
Martin has been in his new position for over a month now, and he says the players are now ready for a fresh assault on the promotion places in League Two.
He added: “The squad is ready, they can all play and I believe they will all play a part. There are a lot of games coming thick and fast and that is why I changed the team tonight so that the lads who didn’t play against Charlton on Saturday they, if called upon, now have experience at proper match tempo against fast, quick players.
“They are going to be needed and that’s why I played that team tonight, in preparation for the next few weeks.
“Some of those players did really well and I have no problem putting them in.”