Neil Harris shares his verdict on the win over Stockport, and the plans for the week ahead.
Neil Harris was pleased to come out of a hard-fought game with all three points at Edgeley Park on Saturday, with the Gills beating Stockport County 1-0 on the opening day of the season.
Robbie McKenzie, a second-half substitute, scored the late winner to cap off an excellent performance.
Harris was pleased that the travelling Gillingham supporters got to enjoy a big victory in a game between, what he believed to be, two very good teams.
Assessment of the game…
We knew that Stockport would come out in the second half and be better. They are such a clever team. They work out how to create overloads and have many good players that can affect the game. In the first half, our shape dominated, and in the second half, for 20 minutes, their shape dominated.
I decided to adjust to a back five to try and give us a little bit more support. Rather than sitting in to do it, we put on another centre forward as well just to try and stretch the game and be an attacking threat. Ultimately, it made us better.
I thought it was two very good teams playing two very different shapes.
On starting Jake Turner…
It was a really tough call. I have two number ones. It’s not often as a manager that I have been in that position.
I thought Jake grew with the 17 or 18 games he played last year. He really grew with a year’s training and with the expectations of what I’d ask of him as a goalkeeper. I thought at Salford in the last game of last season, he was outstanding. He was a man in goal.
Let’s not forget that ten weeks ago, Glenn Morris was our Player of the Year, and deservedly so. It was a really tough call. I just felt that Jake had the better of pre-season than Glenn, who has had a few niggles. That’s not underestimating what Glenn Morris brings to our Football Club and how good he still is.
The fan base comes again because they’re loving it. They’re loving what Brad and Shannon have brought to the Football Club, and they support their team. They have missed football. It has come around quickly for all of us. It was a special moment for us, Brad and Shannon were here, which was lovely for them, and lovely for the fan base to enjoy the first victory of the season.
Tim Dieng pulled out on Thursday with a calf strain, unfortunately. That was Thursday during the session.
Oli Hawkins, we know has been dealing with a heel injury, which he is edging closer to getting back on the grass. Conor Masterson is back on the grass, so hopefully this week.
The week ahead…
We will have a look at Southampton on Tuesday, and then it’s all about Accrington Stanley next week. John Coleman will bring a big, physical, aggressive, hard-working and fast Accrington side. It will be a difficult game.