We look ahead to Saturday's gameGILLINGHAM v TORQUAY UNITED
npower League Two
Saturday April 6 2013
MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Manager Martin Allen revealed in his press conference earlier today that midfielder Anton Robinson will miss Saturday’s game having not fully recovered from the knock which forced his substitution against Rotherham on Monday.
Bradley Dack faces a fitness test tomorrow morning [Friday], Chris Whelpdale should be ok while both Andy Frampton and Charlie Lee are available for selection.
The Gulls have suffered two blows this week in the build-up ahead of their trip to Priestfield.
On Wednesday Notts County recalled midfielder Joss Labadie from his loan spell at Plainmoor after scoring four times in seven appearances.
Then 24 hours later came the news that goalkeeper Michael Poke, who was forced off in the 21st minute of Monday’s home reverse against Bradford City, has been ruled out. He is suffering from a muscle tear between two of his ribs which requires rest and young keeper Conor Thompson, a second-year scholar, is expected to join the squad as cover for Martin Rice.
Danny Stevens (groin) and Craig Easton (calf) were both expected to return to training today [Thursday] and could feature.
KNILL TARGETS FOUR WINS…
Gulls manager Alan Knill has targeted four wins from the final four games of the 2012-13 season after Easter Monday’s home defeat by Bradford left Torquay just one point above the relegation zone.
Looking forward to their trip here on Saturday boss Knill said: “Is it the best place to go? We can’t get any worse and I don’t think there is a better place to go, and put in a good performance to turn it round again.
‘’It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s about what we do. If we perform like we did yesterday, it will be a struggle. If we perform like we did in the previous five games, it won’t be.
‘’There are 12 points available, four games to go and we can win all four. The target has to be 12 points for us.’’
Both Danny Kedwell and Deon Burton were on target over the Easter weekend and took their totals to 14 and 12 after netting against Fleetwood and Rotherham respectively.
The other scorer at Highbury on Saturday was midfielder Charlie Allen, his header taking his tally to two.
Centre-forward Rene Howe, who scored two goals in an 18-game loan spell here at Gillingham in the closing months of 2009-10 campaign, leads the Gulls scoring list with 16 goals to his name.
He is followed by Ryan Jarvis on eight, Aaron Downes has five while both Billy Bodin and Joss Labadie have netted four apiece.
THE LAST TEN GAMES…
Over the course of the last ten League Two outings the Gills have amassed 17 points while over the same period of time Torquay have picked up nine points.
Gills - WLDWDDDWDW
Torquay - LLDLDDWWLL
EARLIER THIS SEASON…
Torquay will come to Kent at the weekend with the incentive of being the only club able to do the ‘double’ over the Gills this season having already won 2-1 at a foggy Plainmoor back on October 23.
That day Gillingham Martin Ling’s side fought back to claim the points after Deon Burton had put the Gills in front.
It was a battling performance in which Martin Allen’s side dominated for large periods. Chris Whelpdale (twice), Adam Barrett, Jack Payne, Robbie Findley and Burton all had chances to open the scoring for the Gills while at the other end Stuart Nelson denied Lee Mansell Billy Bodin and Rene Howe.
The Gills did go in front in the 53rd minute, United’s defence failed to deal with Tom Flanagan’s ball out of defence and Burton beat Michael Poke with a precise finish.
Unfortunately the lead lasted just three minutes as Nathan Craig’s stunning free-kick from out wide on the right beat Nelson.
Howe and Whelpdale both spurned chances before the Gulls won it six minutes from time when Kevin Nicholson broke forward and saw his speculative shot deflected over a stranded Nelson.
Even then the Gills refused to accept defeat and Poke had to be at his best to deny both Burton and Bradley Dack before the final whistle.
Torquay: Poke, Nicholson, Downes, Saah, Lathrope, Mansell, Howe, Leadbitter (Cruise 80), Bodin, Stevens, Craig Unused subs: Jarvis, Rice, Easton, Yeoman, Thompson, MacKenzie
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Flanagan, Barrett, Martin (Frampton 45+3), Davies, Payne (Strevens 70), Whelpdale, Dack, Burton, Findley (Weston 63) Unused subs: Kedwell, Montrose, Forecast, Freiter
There have been 88 previous meetings between the two sides in all competitions dating back to the first ever game a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor on December 17 1927 when Bill Boswell (Gills) and Bert Turner, a penalty for United, were the scorers.
Of these encounters the Gills have won 30 and drawn 25.
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistants: Michael Bull & Carl Brook
Fourth official: Nicholas Kinseley
The West Yorkshire official has been in charge of 32 games previously this season issuing 89 yellow and five red cards.
Of these just one was a Gillingham game, the 1-0 victory at Chesterfield in February.