Captain says the team are going all out for victory on Saturday as Gills look to defy the odds and secure League 1 safety.
The curtain is about to fall on the 2021/22 Sky Bet League One season and games simply don’t get any bigger than this.
Gillingham and Rotherham will battle for very different prizes at opposite ends of the league when they meet at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon in front of the Sky TV cameras. It’s a cliché, but this one really does feel like a Cup Final.
90 minutes of football will decide everything for these two sides. Rotherham have designs on the league title and automatic promotion whilst Gillingham will need vital points to stay in the division; a packed Priestfield and armchair fans around the country will feel every second tick by that little bit slower.
The enormity of the occasion is certainly not lost on Gills captain Stuart O’Keefe who faced the press ahead of this must-not-lose game.
“There is no next week,” admitted the hard-working defender. “A draw might be enough but we are definitely going for a win.
“I’m looking forward to this. It’s something I am excited about and will relish. We have a fighting chance of staying up. We know what we need to do.
“If we win and go down then we will know that we have done all we can on Saturday. To be in this position with a chance of staying up is all that we asked for."
O’Keefe’s participation is not guaranteed however, but he is confident of shaking off injury in order to play his part.
“I haven't trained since the Portsmouth game," he said. “We'll see where we are tomorrow [Friday]. If I can’t play I will be leading from the sides and in the dressing room as best I can to give us the best chance of winning.”
If the Gills do manage to upset the form book and results go their way in other games, O’Keefe believes they would have defied everyone’s expectations by escaping the drop.
“It will be a massive achievement to keep the Gills up,” he added. “A lot of people would have looked at the table and thought we were gone. We have dragged ourselves back into it. There are still massive points to play for on Saturday.
“It’s a big game for Rotherham; if they win, they can secure an automatic promotion spot. We would rather be in their position than ours but there will be nerves from both teams. It’s a big occasion and it is going to be a great game in front of the cameras. We are going to fight for every ball. We are going to give everything. Let’s see who comes out on top.”