Assistant Manager upbeat despite Oxford loss
Gills Assistant Manager John Schofield said the goals and objectives of the team have in no way wavered despite losing 1-0 to Oxford at Priestfield on Tuesday night.
Alfie Potter’s goal in the last five minutes gave the visitors all three points, but Schofield was quick to stress that there is still a long way to go and the club remain in a very positive position.
He said: “We have 46 games to play and the target over those games is to get as many points as we can. To lose the game we are not happy but over the course of the season there will be games where we don’t take points and certainly don’t get maximum points.
“We have to keep going, we’ve got a goal that we are aiming for and we will be judged on that over 46 games.
“We’ve been level about it and we’ll continue to be level. We are still top of the league and we have earned the right over the course of the season not to pick points up in certain games.
“Over 46 games judge us. It’s times like this when people ask questions and we are just trying to show that we are looking at the bigger picture.
“When we have been winning games four and five nil or not picking points up the process remains the same.”
John said the Gills could consider themselves unlucky to come away with no points after creating several good chances, and had it not been for a fine save from opposing keeper Luke McCormick, the result could have been very different.
He said: “Bradley came on and within 30 seconds arrived in the box unmarked and picked up a second ball. He will score goals at every level he plays in and the way he works and trains he can go all the way to the top.
“If he doesn’t catch it so well it goes in the corner but a great save by the keeper.
“We created three or four good chances, we didn’t take them but that’s football.”
Adam Birchall too came close on several occasions to slotting away a half chance, and John thinks the striker just needs a goal to set him on his way. He was also pleased to see Antonio German make an appearance along with Danny Kedwell who returned from injury.
He said: “It’s the first game Birchy has started for a while and got in some good positions; he was wriggling trying to get away from people and just needs that goal.
“He’s getting in the right position and it’s not as though he’s not getting chances – as a centre forward if you’re not getting chances then you need to start worrying but he’s had three or four half chances and was thwarted at the end. That goal is just around the corner.
“Keds has come back and it was nice to see him, it was a bonus 30 minutes that he played so that takes him another step to being fit and being ready to start games so that was a great positive.
“He [Antonio German] has come in at the fifth hour as they say, he’s got on and had a chance and there is more to come from him for sure but he was nice and positive, played on the shoulder, competed for the second balls and was unlucky a couple of times.
“Three or four of their players got around him but you’ve got to remember that Oxford are fighting and scrapping and have got some good victories this year.”
Martin Allen revealed earlier in the week that the club were actively looking to sign another player, and Schofield said the team are working hard to make it happen and will continually look to improve the squad.
He said: “Whether that will happen I don’t know. Are we working hard to do it? Of course we are. The gaffer is always on the phone trying to improve everything we have got and that’s why we set the standards so high.
“We are always looking to improve everything we have got – whether that be the training and the learning skills and communication. If players become available and we think we can improve the team then obviously we will try and sign him.
“That will continue not just this week, not next week but every day of every week.”
As for the progress of Matt Fish and Charlie Allen, John hinted that both could be available again for Saturday’s game at Aldershot.
He said: “Fishy has a bit of swelling on his ankle; I don’t think there was any reason to risk him. It gives him another couple of days and we have a big schedule coming up.
“We have to protect our squad, which is what we are going to do and what we have been doing so to step back for just one game gives you a better chance to be ready for the next four or five, we have to look at that bigger picture.
“Charlie took a whack on the hand and it’s the same for him, he just needs to make sure he is right. He’ll be ready and come the closing period of the season we will be back at full strength and everyone will be flying again.”