Gillingham Manager looking forward to opening league fixture
Gills Manager Martin Allen says he is looking forward to the opening league game against Bradford on Saturday, but has said his side will need to perform better than they did against Bristol City in the Capital One Cup during the week to get a result.
The Bantams visit the MEMS Priestfield with both clubs having booked a place in the second round of the competition and looking to get off to the best possible start in npower League Two.
Martin has been to watch Bradford play and believes they will provide tricky opposition.
He said: “Tuesday was nowhere near our strongest team. I went up to Nottingham to watch Bradford on Saturday and they thoroughly deserved to win. I know Parky [Phil Parkinson] – he’s a really good mate of mine and I saw him in the stand spying and they have some good players trust me.
“You always know Phil’s teams will be fit and they are a good side.
“When we got together we made a conscious and collective decision that our season would start at Bristol so all of our planning with the sports science and analyst for our games was geared up ready for that game.
“This is our second game – it’s a different competition but it’s the same preparation.
“It will be a really tough game and we need to play better – we have players to come back in and we’ll freshen it up.”
Despite a strong and convincing performance midweek against a side two divisions above, Martin does not want the club to get too ahead of themselves as the league campaign is only just beginning.
He said: “Let’s not get too carried away after one win and I never had any doubt in my mind that we were going to win on Tuesday. The players appreciated the supporters that made the journey.
“I stayed in Bristol after the game, the players were off on Wednesday but I’m very excited of course. In Football you have to focus on the next game but I’m delighted that all of the supporters were happy who came down.
“Our lads played well and enjoyed it and when your winning it’s a much better feeling. A few of them ran themselves into the ground and got a few knocks but we have lots of good players here who can all come in and play.”
Martin praised the attitude and commitment of his players since arriving at the club in early July and is hoping the methods he has implemented will have a positive affect.
He added: “They have lost stones, more than pounds. Their commitment has been fantastic and their attitude is commendable. They don’t have to do it; we don’t fine them if they don’t do it but we advised them and guided them.
“Let’s cut out all of the rubbish and let’s win games in the last 15 games rather than lose them. The players have got ownership of that and they will earn more money if they are playing and winning games.
“All of the staff have had to lose weight aswell – we recognise that if we are asking them to eat properly and do extra exercise and come in early for work then we should aswell. We have been putting the effort in to make it a more professional outfit from top to bottom.
“We have good characters and good people – if we can all stay together and unite even when things aren’t so great, and there will be a day like that during the season, then that will be good.”
Following the Bradford game the next clash at MEMS Priestfield will be against Middlesbrough in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
Despite drawing a Championship side Martin summed up by saying his team will prepare in exactly the same way as any other side.
He said: “I was at the dentist when the draw was made and I didn’t find out who we had until about three o’clock. I’m not that bothered, whoever we play against we will prepare in the same way.
“It’s great for the supporters and it will be exciting for the players and I’m sure Middlesbrough are happy to be playing little old Gillingham away from home on a Tuesday night.”