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Gaffer at the Weekend

Gills boss answers a few questions following Saturday's win at Accrington.

17 January 2021

A Sunday round-up from the manager.

Q: It's a long trip back from Accrington but it must have been made more enjoyable considering the performance put in from the boys?
A1: Any win on the road always make for a nicer journey home, it often seems the long journeys even seem shorter.
Any point at Accrington is a good result so to get all the points on offer is credit to the lads.
Q: You said after the game you have to earn everything you get at Accrington, and we certainly produced one of our best performances of the season to deserve all three points?
A2: We have produced many very equal performances but only in a few games have we delivered the excellence over the 90 minutes, and Accrington was one of them.
The lads had a belief and a desire to compete and win, the rest took care of itself.
Q: Callum Slattery and Olly Lee both started and their impact on the side looked immediately noticeable?
A3: Good players blend in very quickly and it was even noticeable to all the group as early as last Thursday in training.
Both the lads you mention have a lot of qualities but we have a squad full of ingredients. We, with the smallest squad in the EFL, just lack bodies but we hope we can address that this week.
Q: The goal to win the game was a special one; not just the finish but the build up too?
A4: It was a counter attack at breath taking speed with some real quality.
Kyle Dempsey is a wonderful player and it was fitting he scored the goal with a beautiful strike after some super play by Slattery, Graham and MacDonald.
Q: Defensively we looked on top of our game in the second half. Although they hit the bar we were robust in our rearguard duties and the entire team deserved a clean sheet?
A5: The reality is we limited very good opponents to very few chances, three in total come to mind.
We looked strong defensively against what I believe are two quality strikers. Slattery played a significant part in that defensive shape whilst the young man showed some wonderful passes to set us up going forward.
Q: Great to see Stuart O'Keefe back on the pitch. At one stage we feared he may miss the entire season but he's recovered incredibly well?
A6: Stuart is two months ahead of schedule and it’s a great reward for a true professional.
He has worked morning and night plus followed every instruction given to him by the medical team.
We love him and need him at the earliest opportunity but he’s on the cusp, a real bonus.
Q: For the remainder of the window is a centre-back and striker your main priorities?
A7: I believe we need a minimum of three more players and that will only bring us level after the return of the loan lads.
We know the areas of the squad we need to add too and we are all trying to make it happen, but we also need to make sure the spending remains under control.
Q: Can we expect more new faces ahead of either Lincoln or Rochdale?
A8: We have to sign the right players and not worry about the timings. Signing the wrong players quickly would be a disaster.
We will remain focused and patient, that is absolutely key.
Q: It's Lincoln on Tuesday in another tough game for us; what will your message to the squad be ahead of that one?
A9: The lads know how tough that challenge will be.
For me if you finish above Lincoln in EFL 1 you will most likely be Champions, although the likes of Accrington, Hull, Portsmouth and especially Peterborough United will play major parts in who plays Championship football next season.

My job, and that of the staff, is to make sure we are ready for such a tough match in what is the best League 1 for many years.

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