Gills boss excited by FA Cup weekend.....
Martin Allen believes that although Preston are the favourites to win their FA Cup second round tie this weekend, his side will make it tough for the League One outfit.
The Gills have already knocked out a team a division above them having overcome Scunthorpe in an emphatic 4-0 win at MEMS Priestfield earlier this month, but this game will present a different challenge with North End in good form and the club being away from home.
The players have done plenty of preparation work for the journey and Martin is looking forward to the game.
He said: “It’s an exciting weekend, the FA Cup is special to all of us football supporters and it’s an opportunity for the players to put themselves up against a team in the division above.
“They are definitely favourites; and we are definitely the underdogs.
“Me and Schoy stayed behind on Wednesday to watch the videos and DVD’s to study everything about their play – everything has been put in to DVD’s so we’ve watched it.
“The players have been given knowledge about everything. Graham wants his players to be fit, fast, strong, well organised and competitive so how can you argue with that?
“We took the chance to give the players a rest for a couple of days and then we go into this FA Cup tie with, what will be, three days preparation with training on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for the game.
“We trained Wednesday and Thursday because it’s a long journey Friday and we will get there early to avoid the traffic we got last week.
“We are creating the chances, the lads are doing well, their effort and their attitude in training has been spot on so we are moving forward. Going in to the FA Cup we are the underdogs there is no doubt about it but these boys can do it.”
As for team news heading in to the game Martin revealed that he nearly has a fully fit squad to choose from.
He said: “We had a development game on Tuesday. Jack Payne played very well in that game so I decided there and then to take him off at half time and put him straight back in to our squad for the weekend, but he has picked up a stomach bug so he has been poorly god bless him for a few days.
“He’s been back this morning but as we know that takes a lot out of the body but he will be travelling with us on Saturday which is good news. He has trained very hard with Mark Patterson and has played very well.
“Jack will be in our squad.
“Connor Essam has got a dead leg, he has been training but it has got a bit worse so we will have to rest him this weekend so make sure he comes back OK.
“Bradley Dack played on Tuesday and he is fit, Jack Evans too so all of the boys that played in that game played really well.
“The rest of them are all fit, Danny Kedwell is now back fully fit after resting him as he had a bit of a sore groin last weekend.”
Martin will come up against an old friend this weekend with Graham Westley currently in charge at Deepdale, and the Gills Manager is looking forward to seeing him.
He said: “I used to be a team-mate of Graham’s at QPR – I have known him for a long time, he has done very well in football management and it will be nice to see him.
“Well Graham has put together a different squad now and has re-built it and made his mark with his players.
“Everybody has different ways of doing things. At times we may be a little bit different with the way we do things. Some people laugh and some people criticise but I have massive respect for him and I like people that sometimes do things a little bit different.
“What you can’t knock is the bottom line – his clubs have been successful and I don’t think any of those Preston supporters will knock what they have got now.
“Saturday’s game will be a hard game for us, but the game will also be a very difficult game for them.”