Gills boss focussed on league campaign...
Martin Allen says that focus will now turn to achieving promotion from League Two after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Preston on Saturday.
Goals from Jeffrey Monakana and Stuart Beavon booked the hosts a place in the third round with a 2-0 win, and despite heavy pressure from the Gills in the second half they were unable to find a way back in to the tie.
Deon Burton missed a penalty soon after the break and was then denied by a fine save from Thorsten Stuckman as Graham Westley’s side maintained their two goal advantage to see the game out.
Martin said his team had put in a good shift and is now looking to maintain their strong position in the league.
He said: “For a team in the division above I think we gave a very good account of ourselves, we tried to play some good passing football, keep it on the grass and shift it around the pitch but we just didn’t manage to score.
“Today is excitement, a great day out and it’s more money in to the football club which is important of course, but the goal is promotion and that’s what we will focus our aims on in everything we are doing to try and get the club promoted.
“We’ve just got to keep picking up points and keep ploughing along. We’ve had the loss of Flanagan, Martin and Wright who are three very good players who we haven’t had available to us and Charlie Allen has been out aswell.
“We’ve had a bit to do but we are still picking up points and still playing well. The spirit of the team is good and we are showing a great attitude and the supporters behind the goal were absolutely tremendous and when it was 2-0 they saw all our players in the second half giving everything.
“Promotion is the goal from day one. I do love the FA Cup; I love the excitement it creates. We won’t be in the draw tomorrow which is a bit of a blow – I’ve had a lot of fantastic runs in the FA Cup but I’ve never had a promotion.”
Martin was asked about his centre forward partnership of Deon Burton and Adam Birchall. Deon had missed a penalty early in the second half with Birchall making his first start for the club, and the manager was quick to praise both players.
He said: “Deon Burton played really well, I wouldn’t criticise him foe taking a penalty as you need guts to take a penalty. He played well last week and has played well again today, he didn’t miss the penalty, we all missed it.
“It’s our team that wins it and it’s our team that loses it. You stand together when those things happen and I suppose I missed it really.
“I get asked several times a week when he was actually going to start a game so I thought it was a great opportunity for him to get in and do his stuff. He’s sharp in and around the box, in training he keeps scoring goals, he’s a pleasure to work with and I thought he was lively.
“He’s been very patient waiting for the chance and I was delighted by that.”
Over 400 fans made the long trip to Deepdale to support the side and Martin said everyone involved should have been proud of their efforts.
He said: “They didn’t sulk, they didn’t moan, they kept shouting for the team. We had crosses and shots, everything in the last 10-15 minutes and even in the 92nd minute we were still at them. We couldn’t get the goal but our players and supporters kept going so on and off the field we can go out of here with our heads held high.”