Gills Manager relishing start of FA Cup...
Martin Allen says he is looking forward to the FA Cup first round game this weekend and hopes Gillingham can have a successful run in the competition.
Scunthorpe visit the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday having employed a new manager this week in Brian Laws, but Martin isn’t worrying about what the opposition are concerned with and wants his players to apply themselves in the right manner.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference he said:
“I was at the training ground yesterday with John [Schofield] and James [Russell] and the players were sharp, as they are every day. I have never seen so many supporters at the training ground but there were loads of them and it felt like when I went to watch Barcelona train a few years ago.
“There were little kids, dads and granddads and they had pictures taken with the players and they signed autograph books. Schoey put on a good session, the players look bright and sharp and it was good for me to stand back and watch it all take place.
“I went away for a few days, it was a lovely break and I left John Schofield in charge.
“It was nice for me to take some time out, chill out, think about what we have been doing and what we have got to do to improve and get ourselves ready for the second third of the season.”
Martin is a huge fan of the FA Cup and can’t wait for the game to begin this weekend.
He said: “It’s the magic of the FA Cup – I’m looking forward to Saturday and the club have set up this `wear red, white or blue` which I think is a really good idea.
“I will be in red, white and blue – if it rains I’m struggling but I’m still going to do it even if it does. It will probably be a big crowd and I absolutely love the FA Cup, it’s such a great occasion.
“I am really excited about it.
“We’ll treat the game like we do any other apart from the fact that tomorrow the players will get egg and bacon rolls rather than the healthy food they normally get. It’s a tradition of mine – we’ll train for an hour and I don’t expect the players to be dressed in red, white and blue but I certainly will be.
“I think nearly all of our supporters will be.
“We’ll expect exactly the same and we know we’ll have to be on the top of our game and it will be a good marker for our future and for where these players want to be playing. This is the type of opposition we want to be up against week in, week out and higher.”
Back to the game itself and Martin revealed that a scout who has been lending a hand to the Gills is now on the books at Scunthorpe which has resulted in a scout report not being made for the game.
He said: “Our scout that went to watch Scunthorpe last Saturday has got the job of first team coach so we have no report! Russell Wilcox is a good friend of ours so he did the Scunthorpe game on Saturday but now we have no report, I can’t wait till I see him!
“We are the underdogs – they are playing in division one week in, week out and we are Gillingham in division two. We will do what we normally do – prepare out team the best we can, tell the team a bit about the opposition and then remind our players that if they play as a team and as a unit then we will win.
“That’s the same with a scouting report or without one.
“All I care about is that our players are ready – it doesn’t matter who the other manager is or the coaches are, it’s what we do that’s important.
“I don’t mean that in any disrespect it, if we play well we will win and that’s how it is.”
Gillingham’s home form has been fantastic this season dropping just four points in seven games, and Martin said the players relish playing at Priestfield.
He said: “The players love playing here, they love it. When they come out of that tunnel and the music comes on I am sat down in the stand, I don’t stay in the dressing room before the game.
“There is nothing to say or do, I just wait. I take my place and when the music comes on and the crowd starts signing you can just feel the atmosphere as they walk on the side of the pitch.
“I stand up and clap them on, it’s a fantastic feeling and to the 11 that get picked it’s a great feeling for them. The atmosphere five minutes before the kick-off is absolutely electric and the players love it.
“When we name the team those players who will be lucky enough to play will have an amazing feeling and they are representing not just me but all of our supporters. It’s a magical place to play football.”
Martin delved into team news and revealed that he has recalled Connor Essam from his loan deal at Luton.
He said: “I don’t call them injured, I just call them unable. Martin and Allen are both unavailable because they have wrist injuries – everyone else is fit and available.
“I have recalled Connor from his loan at Luton because he’s playing in a lot of winning teams and he got left out so he is back now. They wanted to keep him but he’s back with us so he is available aswell and is in our squad for Saturday.
“He has done very well – everyone else is fit.
“Romain Vincelot is available but I don’t know if he’s keen to play – he’s French and I don’t understand him!”