Martin Allen talks to the press ahead of Rochdale fixture...
Gillingham Manager Martin Allen believes the best is yet to come from his squad as they look to increase the gap at the top of npower League Two.
The Gills are currently leading the chasing pack by six points after defeating Port Vale 2-0 last weekend, but Martin believes that his players are capable of delivering even more than they are at the moment.
Speaking in his midweek press conference he said: “The challenge for everybody now is to try and stay there and increase that six point gap, get further away, get as many wins as we can and everybody within the group realises that.
“There is still more to come without a shadow of a doubt. There have been some good performances but we haven’t hit top form at home yet. Southend was good but from an attacking perspective - moving the ball around the pitch, creating chances, getting our full backs forward and playing more football there is more to come.”
Martin has made alterations to his starting 11 all season long and says this will continue against Rochdale this Saturday, and believes this is a positive thing as the players who come in want to impress.
He added: “I don’t see them as changes – they are all just players, no one has been dropped. I just rest people and bring somebody in and I think that makes us stronger because the ones that come in want to come in and do well.
“They are fresher and some of them might have a point to prove but we won away last week at Port Vale – that was 1st versus 2nd and was billed as a massive game. I didn’t see it that way, I just thought it was another game and we will make a load more changes this Saturday – that’s how it is.”
Rochdale come into the game 10th in League Two with 12 points, and although the Gills have made a fine start, Martin says he will not be taking the opponents lightly and insists he and his management staff have done plenty of homework in preparation of their visit.
He said: “Every game that we play is going to be tough; people will come here with a bit extra to try and beat us. At any level of football it’s exactly the same, you have to be right on your game and the challenge for the players, and for myself, is to make sure we do everything we can in our preparation and mind set to make sure we are concentrated and do our jobs properly.
“If we do that, play well and go about it in the right way mentally, that will take care of ourselves physically, and then tactically and technically we are on top of where we need to be and we can then deal with the opposition.
“We don’t take any of them lightly – we have a DVD made of the opposition and I study that Thursday afternoons or Friday mornings with John Schofield [Assistant Manager].
“We tell the players, as we have done in every game, about the opposition. It’s the same with Rochdale but at the end of it we say that we need to go out and play as well as we can and that’s how we will go about this game and every game.”
In the last 10 days two loan deals have gone through – Robbie Findley arrived from Nottingham Forest last Friday before making his debut against Port Vale, and the manager is happy to have him on board.
He added: “I lived in Nottingham last year and I got to see him quite a lot. I thought `Oh my god he is quick, dangerous and what a threat. `
“I had a phone call from somebody I know in the Nottingham area who said it looks like he could be willing to go out on loan. I tried to sign him several times with my previous club so I rang the Chairman who was in his house in Dubai.
“I said `Excuse me, this lad has become available. Do you think that we could get him? He will go into our eleven; he is quick, dynamic and can make things happen. `
“He said straight away `let’s try and get the deal done. `
“On Wednesday night with Andy Hessenthaler, the Chairman and the players’ agent they got the deal done and bobs your uncle, the rest is history.
“We picked him up on the side of the motorway – we trained on the Friday afternoon, I introduced him to the players as a fast forward and said get the ball to him as quick as you can and he will cause trouble and god bless him that’s what he did.
“I’m delighted we have got him – he played in the last World Cup for America against England and he’s a proper good player.”
The other deal saw Adam Birchall joined Blue Square Premier side Dartford and Martin is hoping he can get some much needed game time under his belt before returning to the Gills first team.
He said: “If you had seen him in training Thursday morning when we had a small sided game he was electric once again. He has a low centre of gravity; he gets it out of his feet and tucks them in the bottom corner.
“He’s a great finisher – he has signed for Dartford but when I saw him out on the pitch I thought `oh my god perhaps we should have kept him,` but long term, for him and for the club, it would be good to get some games under his belt and I hope he’s playing on Saturday for Dartford.
“I put him in the team for the last 15 minutes against Chesterfield to try and get us that goal and he nearly scored it. Without a shadow of a doubt Adam will be back here, he will be scoring goals, he’s a match winner for this team and he will have a massive part to play in our team.”
Finally Martin revealed who is available for Saturday’s game and who will miss out.
He said: “Charlie Lee is coming on really well but he’s not quite fit. Myles Weston is fit; Jack Payne will have a week of extra training after his groin injury which I think in the long term will do him good.
“He’s a great lad and I really enjoy his company – we have a little bit of work to do to get him a bit fitter, faster and stronger and I think he can help us go to the next level when he’s up to it.
“Apart from that everyone is fine, except Ross Flitney who isn’t quite ready yet.”