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Zakuani | "We need to be on it from the first whistle"

Skipper ready for Hartlepool challenge.

9 November 2018

Centre-back optimistic ahead of Hartlepool visit.

Gills skipper Gabriel Zakuani says the squad are optimistic ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup first round tie against Hartlepool United.

Steve Lovell’s side kick-off their campaign at Priestfield, as they did last season at home to Leyton Orient, and the centre-back is hopeful the team can progress at least one round further than last year.

He said: “We’ve scored a lot of goals in the last three games so there’s a lot of optimism coming into it.  I’ve been in their shoes [Hartlepool] before, when you’re the lower team going to a place where you’ve got nothing to lose so they’ll have the shackles off and they’ll come and try to enjoy themselves and the occasion.

"For us it’s more about being professional, seeing the game through and hopefully come out on top with more quality.

“The underdogs are usually up for it from the start so I think we just need to make sure we’re on it from the off and then let the quality take care of itself.

“The crowd expects us to win and rightly so but I think when you’re on the pitch its 11 V 11 and whoever’s more on it on the day has a chance of winning so I think we’ve just got to make sure our mentality is right, we match them for effort and we do everything we can.”

Zakuani briefly reflected on Tuesday’s defeat to Blackpool, saying it was one of those nights where, although the performance was good, nothing fell for the hosts on the night.

He added: “I think the only thing missing was the goal, we didn’t score, we had half chances and their keeper made a great save at the end. Connor Ogilvie hit the crossbar early on as well, so we had chances but looking back I thought we deserved at least a point.”

The full interview with the Captain can be seen on iFollow.

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