Manager praises fans for continued support...
Martin Allen praised the efforts of the 267 supporters who travelled to Accrington on Saturday and took time out before the game to speak to those who had made the journey.
Gills had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Crown Ground despite going close late on through Lewis Montrose, and the manager was pleased his side displayed the battling qualities at a place which, by his own admission, is a tricky place to play football.
He said: “We have a young centre half and a young boy coming on in midfield. The wind and the rain got worse as the game went on, especially in the second half. It was blowing right across the pitch, the ball was going about all over the place and it was hard to get it down and play football but this is what it’s like and it’s what you have to do.
“You have to compete and you have to stand up to it. It won’t always be pretty or easy – you can’t always play Barcelona football, you have to make sure you stand up to be counted, we had to keep them out.”
The fans had to endure a wet and windy afternoon in the stands and Martin thanked them for their support, and said he wished he could have done so individually following the final whistle.
He said: “I had a nice chat with quite a few of them before the game because I didn’t have anything to do really after the chat at the hotel. Some of the people have made this journey having left Gillingham at 6.30 and we play for them, we play for our supporters.
“We are a team but off the field the people pay to come and watch us and we have a responsibility to give them good performances, compete and try and play some good football.
“Some of them are absolutely soaked through and it would have been nice for them to go home with three points but we’ve got one. It’s another away game undefeated which is a fantastic record and to all of those fans I wish I could shake them all by the hand and give them a hug and say thank you.
“We couldn’t quite manage it with the penalty but overall I’m very happy with the players.”
As a result of Stuart Nelson’s red card it will be Tommy Forecast who will play in goal for the FA Cup tie with Preston, but Martin says he has no problems with that scenario and says the keeper deserves his opportunity.
He said: “He didn’t have a shot to save did he? We went down to ten men but we defended well and defended as units - they had some possession but didn’t get near our goal. They had some long range efforts as you would expect but Tommy is a great pro, a great lad and he will play next Saturday.
Tommy is a good goalkeeper who has trained very hard and is getting better and better. He’s very popular with the players in the dressing room – he has been very patient and now deserves an opportunity to go and do his stuff.
“Nelson has done brilliant, Tommy has done well, Ross is out on loan at the moment so there is no problem there.”
Finally Martin briefly discussed the David Wright deal which sadly fell through on Thursday, and despite missing out on the midfielder, he is positive about the players he has and will move on to the next game.
He said: “David Wright is a good player, we did try and get him but the paperwork didn’t get done in time so we have to deal with it, get on with it, take it on the chin and move to the next stage.
“Of course I’m disappointed but we tried our best and it didn’t get done in time.”