Adam Barrett previews Bristol Rovers game...
Gills defender Adam Barrett says the squad should thrive on the pressure of being top of npower League Two.
Gillingham go into Saturday’s weekend fixture against Bristol Rovers unbeaten in the league and a point clear of nearest rivals Exeter City.
Barrett says he and his team-mates should enjoy the fact they are top but says more hard work needs to be done in order to stay there.
He said: “We have got to keep working hard and that’s what has got us results – the work rate, what we demand of each other and we enjoy winning football matches.
“We are delighted with what we have done so far but there is room for improvement and we want to be strong this year.”
Bristol Rovers come into the game second bottom of the league having collected just two points from their opening four games, but the centre-back is under no illusions and insists it will be a tough encounter.
He said: “Bristol Rovers have probably one of the strongest squads in the division – I don’t think they have had the start that they would have liked and are struggling at the wrong end but we are five games in and things can change quickly.
“It will be a strong test and they will come here and try to cause an upset and get their season going. We need to make sure we approach it right, as we have done in every game, but in this league anyone can beat anyone and there is a battle to be won.
“We need to stand up and be counted and if we do that I think we have enough quality in the squad to come out and win the game.”
With the Gills top of the table at this early stage Barrett said the team are there to be shot at, but says it’s the type of pressure the squad are more than capable of dealing with.
He added: “Everyone comes in a bit happier when you’re getting results and the winning feeling becomes a habit. When you get on a good run in a squad there is a bounce in the dressing room and bubbliness and of course the confidence.
“The confidence is the biggest thing and that can carry you through. It’s a fantastic feeling, we have made a great start but there is an awful long way to go.
“We probably have the target on our back because we are top of the table and we are there to be shot at. As players you need to thrive on that and enjoy that – I have been in squads where you’re in the wrong end of the table and that’s the pressure you don’t want.
“This is a nice pressure and we should enjoy it and the aim is to stay there among the front runners. I don’t look at it as a bad pressure – I think it’s a good pressure and that’s what we play football for.
“You want to be winners and you want to be successful and hopefully we can cope with that with experienced players like myself helping the younger lads deal with it.”
Manager Martin Allen said in his press conference on Thursday that the changes to his team have been consistent having made five changes in most of the games the team have played, and Barrett says this policy is something the players are happy with.
He said: “At the moment its working – it’s a squad game and you need everyone to play their part and everyone has so far. We’ve had cup games where people get rested which has been good as it keeps you fresh but at the moment everyone has minutes on the pitch.
“It’s a close group, there are no complaints, we roll our sleeves up and get on with it. We know if we are going to be successful we will need everyone – the gaffer has made changes every game and thankfully we have been getting results and while it’s working everyone is happy.”
Finally the defender commented on the arrival of David Wright who signed for the club on Wednesday – he knows the player well and believes he will be a fantastic signing.
He said: “I know David really well - I was at Crystal Palace with him. He’s an experienced player, he’s a good addition to the squad and he’ll help the other lads around him in midfield and I think he will be a good and important signing for us.
“He’s very disciplined in his role, he likes to sit in front of the back four, breaks things up, gives it simple and he knows his job inside out.
“We have a really strong squad and David has only added to that – in the spine of the team we have some experience with lads who have had promotion.
“Hopefully we can have a successful season.”