Martin talks to the media following Cheltenham draw...
Martin Allen said he couldn’t fault the effort of his players following the 0-0 draw against Cheltenham at MEMS Priestfield on Tuesday evening.
The Gills had the best chance of the game with Danny Kedwell hitting the crossbar in the first half, and despite having the majority of possession after the break they were unlucky not to beat Scott Brown in the opposition goal to grab a winner.
The result keeps the Gills five points clear at the top of the league with Port Vale also drawing their game, and Martin was pleased with the overall display.
Speaking after the game he said:
“We played very, very well in the second half and I thought they were very dangerous which I what I expected. I thought it was a great game of football, Mark has put together a really great team and it’s a measure of how far we have come.
“The lads are very disappointed in the dressing room, but I’m not. I think it’s a good point, they don’t gain on us. Someone has just told me that all the other teams near the top have drawn aswell so I suppose that’s good news.
“It was a great atmosphere; the supporters were fantastic singing right until the end and I loved every minute of it.
“We played some good football and we tried to move it a bit more in the second half. They’re a good team and to be honest I think they should be playing in the division above so it’s a good point.
“They were a good side and have a lot of pace and some real quality. They have been together now for a couple of years, they have good experience, good pace and they are a tough team to play against and Mark Yates has done a really good job.
“They were getting in and their pace down the right hand side was a danger so we did change our formation. Myles went over to help Andy Frampton and we played three in midfield with Chris Whelpdale on the right with Kedwell up front on his own.
“I thought we were absolutely tremendous in the first half – we changed it and it worked effectively so it was a good tactical move and John Schofield came up with that so fair play to him.
“That doesn’t mean we went defensive, we just had to retreat and play a bit deeper and stop their winger getting the ball and then play good football when we get it and play football and that’s what we did.
“It was a tactical change and we got back into the game, settled down and started to make some passing movements and into the second half we reverted into our normal way of playing.
“Deon Burton came on and played up with Kedwell and Weston went over to the left to see if we could make some chances and get our way through.
“It wasn’t to be but it was a terrific second half performance.
“Let’s hope we are five points clear come next March. Our season won’t end in May.
“In my opinion they will be promoted at the end of the season so it’s our job to stay above them, and we will.”
Martin had to change his starting line-up before the game as Charlie Lee was replaced late in the day as the manager explained:
“Charlie Lee went down with a sickness bug just before the game,” he revealed. “He was down to start but we couldn’t play him and obviously Dack is out along with Allen so we promoted Josh Hare to be a sub which was good.
“I found out at five o’clock that he couldn’t play because he had a virus. He wasn’t too bad at lunchtime; he slept in the afternoon but was worse at tea time.
“He played so well on Saturday when he came on as sub so we thought it was the right time to put him in because he’s a good player, but whoever comes in to our team are all good players and they can all play well so it’s not too much of a disruption.”
Martin touched on what the team needs to improve on and how, ultimately, the point achieved was a good one to earn.
He said: “Nobody has gained on us and it’s another point towards the finishing post. There’s a long way to go but it’s another clean sheet for our club and we now know the top teams in this division will be tough to beat.
“In the final third we need to have a bit more quality, calmness and endeavour. For the attitude, effort and commitment and all of our players they were desperate to win this game for obvious reasons and I can’t fault them.
Callum Davies is only 19 and what a player he is and what a player he will be. He’s so good in the air, he’s quick, he trains hard, he’s a local lad and has come through the youth team.
“He will only get better, stronger and quicker and he signed a new contract so he’s here for a few years now so that’s another good move and we are in good hands for the future.”
Another young player who is impressing this season is Bradley Dack who was injured during Saturday’s win over Scunthorpe and Martin revealed the latest on his situation.
He said: “We will review it again on Thursday – there is no extra swelling that has come up which is good news but we will monitor and see how it is. We have put his foot into a boot and put him on crutches to de-stabilise it to take the pressure off it.
“If he’s still in the pain level that he’s at then he will have to go for a scan just to check. Joe Martin and Allen will go the consultant Thursday to have their hands re X-rayed and hopefully they can join in next week to get them back going again.”
Next up for the Gills is a long trip to Home Park to take on Carl Fletcher’s Plymouth Argyle, and Martin is expecting another difficult game in the West Country.
He said: “It’s another game, another challenge and another test but we will look at that one on Thursday morning, take the team down on Friday and we know what these games are like.
“Every game is tough, they have got a big squad with good players and there are three more points available.”