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MARTIN: "FISH HAS BEEN FANTASTIC PLAYER"

25 March 2013

Martin praises right-back following winning goal against Accrington

Martin Allen said the winning goal on Saturday could not have been scored by a nicer person than defender Matt Fish.

The right-back scored, what turned out to be the winner against Accrington, midway through the first half to give the Gills a 1-0 victory and an eight point cushion at the top of the league table.

The Manager was delighted to see him score after watching him put in so much effort and dedication so far this season.

He said: “Matt Fish has been a fantastic player; I knew nothing about him when I arrived. I never call him Matt, I call him Fish because I like that name.

“What a great lad, a great person – desperate to get better as an attacking full back. It couldn’t have gone to a nicer, more dedicated hard working young man to come inside like that, hit that goal and see the jubilation and happiness on his face.

“He has worked so hard and has practised so much. As a Manager you are stood in that technical area and look at him so proud. I am proud of him; he’s a top lad on and off the field.

“He’s a great character and a great personality. What a right back he is.”

With just six games to go until the end of the season and Gillingham top of the league, Martin re-iterated what a different feeling it is for him and has been waiting for a chance like this one since entering football management.

He said: “Seventeen years I have been waiting for this – training, coaching courses, books, videos, DVD’s, observations of other coaches and managers.

“I have always been the mad dog fighting to keep clubs out of relegation and all of a sudden we are looking at what could be a fantastic Easter.

“We have been at the top of this league for about eight months, we missed out on the top for a few weeks but the rest of the time we have been top has been quite unbelievable for me personally.

“The fact that so many media and journalists and there is such a big crowd here, it’s quite surreal that it is happening to me and I have to pinch myself.

“I have been lucky enough to get some clubs in to the play-offs but to be top of the league? Unbelievable.

“This is so different and new for me, most of the time it’s been battling relegation for clubs and to hear the supporters at the end and the excitement to hear we are eight points clear and ten of fourth."

Following the draw at Rochdale Martin had made reference to a couple of knocks which may kept a few players out, but said a couple of them were fit enough to take part.

He added: “Westy had an injection on Tuesday so I knew he would be fit. Charlie Lee was OK on Friday; Chris Whelpdale trained on the same day so he was OK.

“I’m not sure if Bradley will make next weekend, Frampton can’t so we are without two there.

“The youth team Saturday morning were absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed watching that. I see the reserves on Tuesday so no doubt I will enjoy watching that, we are coming along nicely.”

To read Matt Fish’s post match reaction click here.

For a full match report click here, and for Martin’s match reaction click here.


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