Martin hoping fan base will grow as club progresses...
Martin Allen hopes that fans will create a strong atmosphere this evening when the Gills take on Exeter City at MEMS Priestfield.
It will be the club’s second home game in the space of four days having scored a late winner against Morecambe on Saturday to move seven points clear at the top of the table.
Gillingham’s `festive ticket offer` begins tonight with adult tickets costing just £10, and although Martin is hoping to see as many people as possible inside the stadium, he is understanding that some supporters will have to follow proceedings from elsewhere.
He said: “£10 a ticket? I know it’s hard for the public with there being two games in four days. I don’t want to say you’ve got to come because if people can’t afford it and they have to put food on their tables and pay their bills then how can you criticise them for not coming? It’s ridiculous.
“If we do well over a longer period of time and Mr. Scally allows these offers to come in and there is a buzz and an atmosphere then, in time, the fan base will grow.
“It’s up to us to put on a good performance for the paying public. They want to see football played on the grass; we know we can play better and we are getting better.
“We are conscientious, we care and I hope the public are getting value for money.”
Martin has had mixed news regarding members of his squad in the last week or so – Charlie Allen has returned to first team action following his wrist injury, but there has been bad news regarding Tom Flanagan who may have played his last game for the club.
He said: “Tom Flanagan has got a fractured metatarsal in training so he’s going to be out for a minimum of eight weeks. It was a totally innocuous challenge, he had an x-ray on Friday afternoon but it looks like he will have to go back to MK Dons for his rehab.
“He’s a great player and a great lad. He’s 21, trains every day and afterwards he is always doing his individual development personal programme to get stronger and faster. He is always practising his headers, his quick feet and his agility movements.
“It’s optional to our players, we don’t make them do it but Tom does it and he wants to get better. You just know he will play at a higher level because of his attitude and that’s the type of attitude I like in people.”
As for Charlie, the Manager is happy to have him available again.
He said: “The legs and the energy he gives us – I like the fact he was working on a building site for four months 18 months ago and now he has come back to doing what he’s doing now so you can imagine how hard he works.
“Every day to that boy is like Christmas Day and for him he’s loving every day. Like Flanagan he couldn’t practice or train any more so it’s great to have him back in the fold too.”
The Gills late winner at the weekend came courtesy of Deon Burton’s late strike, and Martin praised the striker again for an excellent finish.
He added: “It was a great occasion, every game is only worth three points but it was just brilliant from Deon Burton with the quality of the volley in the Rainham End.
“Myles Weston came on and terrorised the full back and Charlie Allen nearly scored the winner just before that so all three lads that came off the bench did great.
“Deon has played in the World Cup and the Premier League and he does have that technical ability. He looks after himself, trains hard and eats well and that’s why we brought him here and he’s a great example of how to look after your body and how to be professional.
“The place went absolutely crazy and it was a great day – I loved every minute of it.”