Consistency key going forward, says full-back.
Ryan Jackson is looking forward to playing at the Stadium of Light for the first time on Saturday, but the only memento he wants to leave with are three valuable points. “After a long trip there, nothing will be better than coming back home with a win,” admitted the right-back, speaking with Kent’s local media ahead of a 300-mile drive north.
The impressive 49,000-seater stadium, one of the finest in the country and home of Sky Bet League One heavyweights Sunderland A.F.C, will of course be deserted, but Jackson believes that can only be to Gillingham’s advantage when they take on The Black Cats and attempt to make it four games unbeaten.
Jackson said: “They are a massive club, you have to give them respect. But we treat every opposition the same. It will be in our favour playing them away without fans. We have our game plan and we will try and execute it as best we can. Hopefully that will be enough on the day.
“We know that they are going to have their threats. They are a good team and they are going to start fast. It is going to be tough but we have to deal with any opposition that are put in front of us. We have to keep a level of performance that will bring the results we want.
“I feel like we are getting to understand each other as a team. With the new additions added, we are still gelling. I feel like the new signings have helped us. We are looking more solid and more threatening as well.”
One new signing in particular has been a driving force since his arrival. Olly Lee returned for his third spell at the club and Gillingham players, being put through their paces on the training pitches, were as surprised as anyone when they caught wind of the transfer.
“We didn’t know he was going to be arriving,” said Jackson. “The boys have seen his car in the car park and when he eventually did come in the training ground, everybody gave him a round of applause. It was good to see. Olly Lee is a quality player and he looks like he can pop up with a few goals.”
Another signing that caught the eye is defender Robbie Cundy. The Bristol City-loanee made his debut in Tuesday’s 4-1 demolition on promotion-hunting Crewe, and he didn’t put a foot wrong all evening.
“He looks like the real deal,” noted Jackson. “We were talking well together and made a good partnership. I’m looking forward to playing with him a lot more. We have a good balance. He’s aggressive in the air and good with the ball at his feet.
“Callum Slattery has also settled in well. He can break up play in midfield, put his foot on the ball and keep it. Sometimes you need that safety net. We trust him on the ball. He’s got a good pedigree; he’s come from a good club (Southampton). He gets us ticking over.
“As long as we, as defenders, can keep the ball out of our net and let the attacking players do their job, it should work nicely.”
Gillingham prospered very well against Sunderland last season; beating them at home, drawing away and even knocking them out of the FA Cup after two hard-fought battles. Jackson, however, is looking to the future rather than the past.
He said: “We know what we are capable of, it’s just about trying to stay consistent. The Gaffer doesn’t let us get complacent, he always keeps us on it and makes sure we stay focused and approach a game properly.
“The last few results have been pretty good for us. If we can now take that on and build on it, you never know what can happen. If we get the win, it will be a big result. We know that on our day we can beat anyone.”