Paul Raynor says the focus of the team is achieving maximum points from the last two fixtures.
Paul Raynor insists that Gillingham are determined to end their rollercoaster season as strongly as possible and will be giving everything to finish the campaign on a positive note.
The Gills travel to Burton for their penultimate fixture on Saturday before the curtain closes on the 2020-21 Sky Bet League One season at MEMS Priestfield Stadium a week later when they face Plymouth Argyle.
The play-offs might be a bridge too far, but Raynor, facing the local media on Zoom ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Pirelli Stadium, says only six points will satisfy him and the team.
Coming painfully close
“It’s been a kick in the teeth. We are frustrated and disappointed. We took our eye off the ball and it has cost us.
“Our track record is to come in and be towards the top of the table and be challenging for things, and we have been true to our word. When we were curtailed last year, we felt we could have kicked on into the play-offs. This year, up until now, we can mathematically still do it. To be talked about as potential play-off candidates is fantastic. It’s brilliant for the resources we have.
“It’s unlikely that mathematically we will get in there, but whatever happens it will be tinged with disappointment because we will look back and think, ‘What if we had beaten Oxford?’ What if we had hung on against Northampton?’ We are going to work hard through the summer to make sure there are no ifs or buts next season. We hope to come back bigger and better.”
Playing to your strengths
“Everybody wants to play like Man City, Real Madrid or Barcelona. Everyone wants to play out from the back and be all pretty, but you need to live in the real world. We do like to get the ball forward quickly, but we like to get it forward with quality. I think we have done that.
“When you have a weapon like Ryan Jackson’s throw, why not use it? Why not get it in the box? We have scored a lot of goals that way. When you have Vadaine Oliver and John Akinde, you have to play to their strengths. We have utilised the long throw and their physical power. You have to use the tools you have at your disposal. Teams don’t like it, but that’s their problem.”
Two games left
“Our aim is six points, simple as that. We finished training today and sat the guys down and told them that we want maximum points. Let’s be as high as we can and then talk about what ifs. Let’s try and beat Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Burton and then finish with a good finale at home to Plymouth.”
Social media blackout
“I think that it is very important that the clubs are trying to do something. I’m fully behind it and so is the Club. Will it eradicate it (online racist abuse)? Probably not. The keyboard warriors will be in their dark rooms and trying to do things because that is all they know and that is the mentality that these people have got. It’s not right and more needs to be done.
“These social media platforms need to do more. They say they are going to do more. Am I seeing them do much more? Not really.”
“They were dead and buried before Jimmy arrived; they were so far adrift that I thought they were well gone. We knew Jimmy was an experienced guy and that he would do well. We knew there would be a response, but the response he has had has been absolutely unbelievable. Jimmy’s done a fantastic job; credit to him.
“Young Gerald Sithole has a knock, because he played some minutes in a youth team game on Tuesday. The weekend might come a little too soon for him, but we will get him out there training at some point tomorrow and see how he is.
“There are one or two knocks and niggles. Robbie Cundy has been nursed through games a little bit, so we will see how he is. Apart from that, as I say, there are just a few niggles and knocks that we should be able to deal with.”