We look ahead to the Gills Good Friday League fixture against Tranmere Rovers at MEMS Priestfield StadiumGILLINGHAM V TRANMERE
Sky Bet League One
MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Friday April 18
Peter Taylor has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of this weekend’s visit of Tranmere Rovers.
Leon Legge (hamstring), Jake Hessenthaler (hamstring), Danny Kedwell (knee) and Chris Whelpdale (ankle) have all trained this week and should take their place in the squad.
Matt Fish (knee) played for the development side midweek but is unlikely to feature until Shrewsbury at the very earliest.
As for Tranmere, striker Abdulai Bell-Baggie will miss the game due to a knee problem, while veteran striker Ryan Lowe is a huge doubt after sitting out Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Crawley with a dead leg.
His fitness will be assessed at the last minute, as will Jason Koumas who has a toe problem.
Peter Taylor is aware how big three points could be for the club in the context of the season, and wants his players to bounce back following defeat last weekend:
Speaking to the club website he said: “They are in the same position as us, fighting for their lives, but I’m looking for the players to really respond on the strength of the disappointing game at Orient.
“Danny Kedwell will be in the squad; he has trained in the last few days and looked good. Chris Whelpdale will be in the squad again – Leon Legge has a good chance if he’s had no reaction.”
Tranmere boss John McMahon told their club website: “The lads know what's expected of them and that's competing more and winning football matches.
"We know we need wins and we know we need to stay out of the bottom four.”
Tranmere Rovers -
The Gaffer: John McMahon
McMahon took the hot seat at Prenton Park in late February when Ronnie Moore was suspended due to an alleged breach of Football League betting rules.
Moore’s contract was officially terminated last week, leaving McMahon to see out the job for the remainder of the season.
Brother of former Liverpool player Steve, John spent the majority of his playing career in non-league before pursuing a career in coaching.
He has had two caretaker spells at Tranmere before, once in 2003-04 and the other in 04-05 before joining Shrewsbury as First Team Coach in 2006.
He became Assistant Manager in 2007 prior to joining Liverpool as Reserve Team Manager in June 2009.
He left the club in March 2011 to re-join Tranmere.
One to Watch: Ryan Lowe
Ryan Lowe joined Rovers in the summer after agreeing to cancel his contract with MK Dons. The Liverpool born striker started his career at non-league Burscough before joining Shrewsbury where he spent five years, making 171 appearances and scoring 32 goals.
The veteran striker has bags of experience and has scored goals at every club he has represented, including 49 in 90 for Bury.
The Skipper: James Wallace
Wallace was a product of the Everton youth system after joining the Toffees as a 13-year-old, he went on to represent the reserve side regularly, before making his first team appearance in the Europa League in August 2009.
The midfielder has also represented England at both under-20 and under-21 level. The 22-year-old failed to force his way in to the Everton first team and had loan spells at Bury, Stockport, Shrewsbury and Stevenage between 2010 and 2012.
Wallace was sent out on loan again, this time to Tranmere were he cemented himself as a regular scoring two goals in 18 games. After impressing former Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore he joined Rovers at the end of the season despite having interest from Championship clubs.
Tranmere - the season so far
Tranmere’s season didn’t start well with only one win in their first ten league games, the win came against Oldham when they ran out 1-0 victors in late August.
They did get back on track in October with two wins against Bradford and MK Dons. In November they put five goals past Coventry in what was their biggest win of the season, winning 5-1.
They also went through to the second round of the FA Cup after seeing off League Two Accrington in a 1-0 win before being hit for five against Peterborough in the following round.
Seven points out of a possible 12 in February looked as if Tranmere had turned a corner as they went 18th in the Sky Bet League One table.
However in March, Rovers managed only five points from 21 which left them one place above the drop zone on goal difference.
At the beginning of April they did manage back to back wins after seeing off Colchester and Shrewsbury respectively before losing to Crawley ahead of the game at Priestfield this weekend.
The Gills visited Prenton Park earlier this season and came away with all three points in a 2-1 win, courtesy of Adebayo Akinfenwa’s brace.
The big man put the Gills in front with his first goal since August as he fired home just before half time. The striker then bagged his second when he headed in from close range.
Tranmere scored through Ryan Lowe on the day but the Gills held out for a valuable three points. Prior that. Gills hadn’t won away at Tranmere since the 2006/2007 season.
Rovers’ last visit to Priestfield saw them take all three points when they met on February 9, 2010 – Ian Thomas-Moore’s 68th minute strike was enough to give the visitors the win.
Craig Fagan has scored twice in his last four outings, and is 13/2 to open the scoring against Tranmere on Good Friday.
Ryan Lowe is Tranmere’s top scorer with 20 goals so far this term, and for him to bag a brace you can get a return of 9/1. Both teams to score in the first half is being offered at 3/1.
Gillingham won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in December and Sky Bet are offering 8/1 for a repeat score line at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
For all the best odds and to register an account, visit www.skybet.com.
*odds correct at time of writing.
Referee - Michael Naylor
Assistant Referee 1 - Stephen Finch
Assistant Referee 2 - David Woolford
Fourth Official – Simon Knapp