Martin gives thoughts on contract extensions...
Martin Allen is pleased to have tied Adam Barrett and Josh Hare down to longer term contracts after new deals were agreed with the pair during the week.
Barrett has agreed a two-year contract extension which keeps him at the club until the end of the 2014/15 season, whereas Josh has been given a one year professional deal with the option of a second after impressing in recent development games.
The Gills skipper, who delivered an exclusive interview to the club earlier in the week, was praised by the manager who wanted to sign the centre-back on a longer deal as soon as possible.
He said: “He’s a captain and a leader on and off the field. He leads by example, trains hard, looks after his body and he’s been outstanding. There is no doubt he can play for longer – in January players are free to talk to other football clubs and if we didn’t sign him now there is a good chance he would leave here.
“What a good player – how we got him on a free transfer I will never know and I think supporters would back that up what a good player he is.
“The only surprise is that he hasn’t scored more goals. I’ve got him down to score between six and nine goals for the season and he’s only scored one at Plymouth. He loves the club and I said to Mr. Scally we should get him on a better deal.
“It took about 20 minutes for the deal to be agreed and job done. Relief.
“You get players like that and you need to keep hold of them.”
As for Josh he was awarded a new deal following the development squad’s 3-2 win over Dagenham on Tuesday afternoon, and having watched him feature in a number of games Martin felt now was the right time to pin the player down for next season.
He said: “He was sub for our first team last week, he’s in the squad for this week and he’s a scholar. If you don’t sign those players on professional contracts then other clubs can just pay compensation to take them away.
“I’ve seen two development games and he’s played in a position in front of the back four and he’s taken to it like a duck to water. He listens, he’s conscientious, he’s fit, he’s strong in the air and stops the opposition from going through the middle of the pitch and attacking our centre-backs which is what that position has to do for the team.
“I saw him the other day against Dagenham and thought `oh my god`, it looks like we have got a player. He’s been playing centre-back for the youth team and at Whitstable and then ended up at right-back.
“I didn’t think he was going to quite do it at centre-back or right-back and myself, Mark Patterson, John Schofield and Andy Hessenthaler had a meeting and it’s our decision about what happens to those boys coming up to the senior group and we decided to give him an opportunity and it was a no brainer.
“You have to get those lads on a deal – he has the right ethic, he has the right attitude, he looks after his body and himself. He has a desire to do well and improve, he’s hungry and that’s the type of people we want at our club.
“If the Chairman is going to invest his money in to these players, future potential, then I want the right desire and the right attitude.
“I want them to come in on their day off; I want them to train in the afternoon and practice. I want them to get stronger, quicker and more powerful so when we go to Le Touquet next July then some of those players can come with us.”
Finally Martin commented on Tom Flanagan’s call-up to the Northern Ireland U21 International side, and believes the defender will only get better as he continues his development.
He said: “It’s fantastic isn’t it? An U21 international at Gillingham Football Club. He’s an MK Dons player so the people there like Karl Robinson, Mike Dove and Damien Doyle and the staff there deserve a lot of credit.
“He’s been a great signing for us and has done very well and, at the moment, Gillingham have a Northern Ireland U21 International which is good.
“Tom’s still 18 months away from full development - MK Dons have a great player for the future and he played 27 times last season in a division one team that got the play-offs and I think he got six goals.
“He’s quality and has a great work ethic, he’s always in the gym or on the training ground practising and this is what makes you better. We want our players to want to play in the Championship and we want them to aim for the very best.
“It could be with Gillingham, but if not and we have to sell them on for big money then that’s our job, to get those lads through to do that.”