Martin pleased with impact of new signings

Martin Allen has praised the impact his new signings have had on the rest of the Gills squad.

Martin added to his playing staff last week with both Michael Richardson and Ryan Williams arriving at Priestfield from Newcastle and Fulham respectively, and with Anton Robinson, Steven Gregory and Leon Legge having also signed since the turn of the New Year, the Manager has praised them for their efforts having not played much football before joining.

He said: “Anton Robinson hasn’t been playing at Huddersfield, so it’s going to take time to get up to match speed and Dagenham is his third match in a week now.

“They’re good players and you can’t write them off from one game. Gregory was the same, he hadn’t done anything for a whole month, so to see him come out there and play so well as he did was good. I’m sure all our supporters were pleased to see him, and I was proud of the way he played [against Dagenham].

“I was desperate to put him on here in front of our own supporters, so our own supporters can see what a good player Gregory is. I don’t sign too many duff ones. He’s a good player, and he will play a big part at this football club going forward without a shadow of a doubt.

“All these lads that we have signed, they’re doing alright.

“Leon Legge’s got a good goal scoring record, but with Leon god bless him, he’s not been playing at Brentford and players with physical stature take time to get match fit.

“Once they get playing games on a regular basis it just stays in them. Until they actually get to that level, which they get from match fitness, it takes them time so Leon’s performances have been a bit up and down but he was fantastic on Saturday. That’s three games in a week for him now and that’s the sort of centre half I’ve known, proper player.”

One player who has returned to the first team set up of late is Bradley Dack – the midfielder came off the substitute’s bench on Saturday, and on Tuesday bagged himself a hat-trick against the same side in a development game at Priestfield.

Martin said due to the amount of games the Gills are facing in the next month or so, Dack could feature more than he has been recently.

He added: “We’ve got a lot of games coming thick and fast. Bradley Dack on Thursday was outstandingly good in training. So when they do well in training I have these gut feelings and I pick them.

“And if they sulk, and they don’t train hard, and don’t do all the work in the gym then I don’t pick them. Dack’s attitude is top top draw, he does all these extra bits and pieces [training sessions]. He was superb earlier in the season. I haven’t been able to get him involved as much as I can same with the young boy Davies. I was disappointed not to be able to get him on the bench Saturday.

“Callum, Dacky, they’ve got a great attitude and they are the way forward in the long term for the club. It’s important I don’t ignore them, I’ve got to keep them involved.”

One player Martin did say he maybe shouldn’t have been involved in the club’s most recent away game was Deon Burton. The striker, having impressed at Bradford, then started at Bootham Crescent against York, but the Manager believes he made a mistake regarding that decision.

He said: “I think it’s fair to say I made a mistake earlier in the week, the first one of the season. I should have rested Deon. He was awesome at Bradford last week; I should have rested him at York midweek and played one of the other boys, Westy maybe.

“But we chose on Saturday to go with all out pace with Cody and with Myles, and they were absolutely fantastic. I thought we just lost a little bit of momentum in the second half so we had to change things around, and god bless Deon coming on I thought he was great.”

A couple of injuries have materialised in the last week or so with Danny Kedwell picking up a hamstring problem, and Charlie Allen suffering a broken hand.

Martin revealed the midfielder cannot put any pressure on it and it’s possible he may miss a couple more games.

He added: “He’s got a fracture. It’s very swollen and it‘s very sore. He can’t put any pressure down on it.

“It’s not as bad as the fracture he had on his other hand, so until the swelling goes down on the other hand and he’s comfortable with it he can’t have any physical contact. So all he can do is the warm up, running, technical skills, and technical drills. But no, he can’t actually be involved in games.”

In his place may come Richardson who played well in the development game on Tuesday, and Martin gave him huge credit for turning professional having been an electrician not so long ago.

He said: “He’s a good player. Young, hungry, he stayed at my house the other night and he’s a nice boy. When I say he’s hungry I don’t mean he wants food, he’s got a good appetite. He drove down straight after the game against York and stayed at my house.

“He was in training the next morning at half nine even though we got back to Gillingham at five. I like those types of people. I said, “Do you want to come in training?” and he said, “Definitely, I’m in with you.”

“Anton Robinson was the same wasn’t he? Anton was non-league and trying to get jobs and trying to get clubs. So that’s two of them. Gregory was non-league as well. Leon Legge was non-league wasn’t he?

“So that probably tells you a bit of a story about where I am and how I am. I want people that are hungry. I want people who are willing to do the extra training, extra work, extra gym work, and these people have had to do extra in everything they do to make themselves into footballers.

“They have an appetite, they have a hunger, and they have desire. And if you say come in at eight o’clock they come in at quarter to eight. They don’t care because they’ve had to do what normal people do. They’ve had to do a shift and a proper graft.

“So when you ask them to come in and run up a hill at eight o’clock in the morning they don’t say “why are we doing that?” or be late. They just say, “What time and how many times do you want me to do it?” I love that about these young people we’ve got here.”

Martin himself had a job away from football prior to going in to coaching and recalls one particular job he was carrying out before joining Alan Pardew at Reading.

He said: “I was a gardener and doing people’s leaves. There was one bloke who asked me about trimming all these bushes in his garden. Big house, big garden, all nice shrubs and everything: it was lovely and he said “what do we do coming into the cold weather?”

I said, “No problem I’ll sort that out for you,” and a week later I bought a pair of secateurs – you know those things that cut things. So I went round his garden and cut everything back, everything. I put it all into these black bags and put it into the back of my old car. Completely demolished it basically.

“The next day I got a phone call from Alan Pardew at Reading, “Would you come and be the first team coach?” So I thought happy days. You can imagine can’t you, I was on £10 an hour working from first light at half seven through to when I could at half four.”