Gills boss full of praise for squad's work ethic
Martin Allen says his players are in good shape going into tomorrow’s pre-season friendly against Dover Athletic.
The Gills recorded a 3-2 win over Ebbsfleet at Stonebridge Road on Saturday, and despite the fact the manager believes they are improving, training sessions will step up again as competitive matches fast approach.
He said: “They are in pretty good shape already – I’ve enjoyed working with them that’s for sure. They have been good fun, we have had plenty of laughs but they have worked so hard and we have had to tone the training down a little bit.
“We will pick it up again – the players have welcomed it and enjoyed it. No one is complaining or moaning – we don’t shout at anybody. All we ask is that they try their best then we are happy.”
Similar to the Ebbsfleet game the manager revealed his starting line-up 24 hours before the trip to Dover tomorrow.
He said: “The team to play at Dover is Tommy Forecast in goal, Andy Frampton at left back, Bernard Itoua, Connor Essam and a French trialist called Michael playing at right back.
“In front of the back four will be Jack Payne – we have a midfield three of Charlie Allen, Lewis Montrose and Danny Jackman. The two up front will be Adam Birchall and Ashley Miller.
“They will all play 90 minutes and some of our youth boys are going down to be subs. All of the lads that played at Ebbsfleet have got to travel to watch the match so everybody is travelling.”
Two players who haven’t featured for the first team but are training with the Gills are Ben May and Mark Hughes, but the manager says they are just regaining fitness as they search for a new club and no deals will be offered to them.
He said: “Ben is just training with us and we are trying to help him – he helped me at Brentford and at Barnet at the end of last season. He and Hughsey haven’t got a club so we will have a chat with them at the end of the week probably.
“We have a lot of young midfield players so we can’t sign Hughsey.”
Following the game tomorrow the Gills will have four days to recover before welcoming Charlton Athletic to MEMS Priestfield, and Allen is hoping by the end of the game he will know what his strongest side is.
He said: “I should have done – we are getting close to it. It’s a fresh start for everybody and there might be one or two surprises from a Gillingham supporter’s peace of mind.
“Whatever happens everybody at some point will play their part – there’s a huge number of games coming up and we will make sure the players are aware of what we need from them.”
In order to do that Allen will have help from a number of people in his backroom staff, including John Schofield who is his Assistant. The manager was full of praise for his team and is happy everything is in place.
He said: “James Russell, Mark Patterson, John Schofield and Carl Muggleton take training – I generally watch all of the work that they do.
“John Schofield has a UEFA pro licence and is absolutely top draw. Ten days ago he was on his way to a Championship club but the Chairman persuaded him to stay.
“Carl Muggleton should be working at the very top level – he is a great goalkeeping coach and is a very good person.
“James Russell, without a shadow of a doubt, will one day be working in the Premier League because of the work he does.
“This is his first proper job – last season he was an intern at Notts County and he will work at the top level, it’s just a matter of time.”