An update from the Gaffer

The Gills boss delivers an update.

Q: These are unprecedented times, not just in Football, but in life generally. What has been your approach in terms of finding a balance between keeping the boys fit, and ensuring there is minimal physical contact?

A1: My overriding approach is to ensure all the players, staff and their families are safe. As a manager I take the health and mental wellbeing of everyone here very seriously.

The players have a daily fitness schedule which we monitor daily.

These are testing times for everyone, only by doing as a nation what we are advised to do can we win this virus battle.

Q: It has been announced that Football will not start again until April 30 at the earliest. As far as training and preparation is concerned, will you assess on a daily basis?

A2: I have today advised the lads that they will not report back as a group until Monday week (March 30).

I have taken the advice from two senior medical professionals, and I will continue to do so.

When the football returns we will be ready 100% to fight for a play-off spot. This season has a lot of football to be played and many surprising results to come.

Whilst we all guess as to when we will play matches again, it really is impossible to guess. However my view is we will be playing again by mid-May.

Q: As the Manager what are your personal thoughts? Must the season be completed, even if games are perhaps played behind closed doors?

A3: Yes, a million per cent the season must be completed in full.

No team can be Champions, promoted or relegated in a season cut short!.

Q: How important is it we only start playing when it is completely safe to do so?

A4: Yes, that is key.

This is a deadly dreadful virus that we are fighting and we need to beat it before any football is played.

Q: Fans are naturally disappointed they can't watch their team at the moment but I'm sure your message will be that you will be ready to go as and when we get the green light to play?

A5: As I said earlier, we will be ready.

We are lucky in that our supporters are so passionate and truly love their football club.

We are rightfully proud to represent them, it’s key that they all keep safe and we come back to watch the Gills when the football returns.

Q: Is it frustrating not being on the training pitch or is Football a secondary issue in your thought process right now?

A6: Football is in my thoughts every minute I am alive. As many who know me will tell you, it’s not a job, it’s an obsession that I am lucky to have as a career.

No one is safe from this virus, I am in the same fight as every person in the world who is trying to keep themselves, family, and friends, safe.

Q: Having liaised with the players, how are they coping?

A7: The players have been so supportive and outstanding.

Every one of them is in a good place and every day they train on their own with such vigour. I am proud of them is my summary.

Q: What's the plan for the week ahead?

A8: The boys will remain away from the club until Monday week. They are in isolation as we all follow the best medical advice on offer.

These are challenging times for everyone in the world. I want to pay a special thanks to everyone in the healthcare industry who serve this country with such care, Thank You.
Q: Finally, we had the tragic news regarding the death of Peter Whittingham on Thursday. He was only 35. Give us your reaction to his passing and what memories do you have of him?

A9: Pete was a great footballer. He has played against my teams and was always someone I knew could hurt my teams, a player who could pass a ball 60 yards with the accuracy of the best darts player in the world.

He always had kind words for everyone and will be so sadly missed by his young family. RIP Pete.