Gaffer at the Weekend

The Gaffer answers a few questions following Saturday's home game against Ipswich.

Q1: Reflecting on Saturday's game, what aspects of the performance encouraged you most ?

A1:.... Before the match I always thought this would tell us how far away we are ourselves from what I regard as the best team in League 1 and with all the resources in place to underline that.

Now there is no doubt we are on the right track and we should have shared the points, if not taken all of them on offer.

We had to start without a few key players and yet we could still have a strong bench so in reality we are progressing, but still much work has to be done.

Q2. Considering the territory control we had in the second half, and the clear chances we made, in your view was a point the least we deserved ?

A2:.... As I just said a point would have been the minimum. Ipswich Town have a number of outstanding players and there is no dispute we put them under tremendous pressure in the last half hour but when the big moments came we never took advantage of some outstanding build up play.

We need to be more ruthless at the top end of the pitch as we are dominating most matches, but not taking the chances we create.

Q3. Some fine individual performances too. Are you pleased to have a few selection headaches ?

A3:.... As a Manager you want competition for places.

I thought young Jack Tucker had an impressive first ever start [league] at first team level and that offers great competition to Max Ehmer and Connor Ogilvie whilst Mark Byrne was again excellent in midfield.

Ben Pringle came on and was suddenly the best player on the pitch. We must continue to all work hard and smart to get Prings fully up to the levels of match fitness we demand at first team level.

Q4. Mark Marshall, Alfie Jones and Matty Willock were missing of course. Are they all in the mix for Oxford ?

A4:... Any team will miss the likes of these players, especially Alfie Jones who has been, for me, our best player this season.

I would certainly expect a couple of these lads to be available but on Friday morning Alfie picked up a late knock.... that is the side of football that you cannot prepare for, but as a Manager you deal with it as best you can.

Q5. What's the plan for the week ahead ?

A5:.... The lads will be back in tomorrow morning for training. In the afternoon the first team squad will visit HMS Medway just before it sails and that is something we will all be proud to do.

On Tuesday a group will train in the morning whilst another group will play against a decent opposition in a closed door match. It is essential we keep giving those players not starting on a Saturday the benefit of game time.

From midweek to Friday we will prepare to face an in-form Oxford United next Saturday.

Q6. If we perform like we did yesterday we will surely win more games than we lose ?

A6:.... For a number of weeks we have not got the results our performances in matches, and the dominance too, deserve, but the only answer is to keep working hard and results will follow.

Pep Guardiola is a brilliant Manager, one of the world's best, and he often makes the same point in that focus on your performances and what comes next is winning.

Q7:. The support was incredible on Saturday. That must give the players an extra lift when the stands are full and the noise goes up a notch ?

A7:.... The support at Gillingham has been superb. Yesterday, again, they were brilliant and I really want all of them to know how appreciated it is. These players will give them many great wins so by sticking together we give ourselves a great chance.

Let us all focus on the positives and nothing else as we go forward.