Neil Harris previews the trip to Harrogate.
Gillingham manager Neil Harris has called on his Gillingham team to get back to ‘winning ways’ when they visit Harrogate Town on Saturday.
The Gills have been flying in recent weeks, playing decent football, entertaining fans and racking up the points, that is until Mark Hughes’ Bradford inflicted their first home league loss of 2023.
Harris, however, says the team are still full of belief and confidence and are looking to get back on track at the EnviroVent Stadium this weekend.
Ahead of the huge Sky Bet League Two clash with a team directly below them in the table, the Gills boss sat down with the local press. This is what he had to say...
Defeat on Tuesday
“We have come so far in a short space of time. We came up against a team in Bradford who were not only excellent and physically very good, but they also had the best centre-forward in the division. We played against a really good side and came out on the wrong end of the result. There wasn’t a lot in it and I take a lot of solace from that.
“Tuesday gave us a little reminder that we still have a long way to go. We need to perform every game to achieve at this level.”
Joe Gbode signs a professional contract
“I want him to be a good man, a good professional and keep being a good son to his parents. I want him to finish his education within our system until the start of May.
“Next year, when he has finished everything he needs to complete in the academy setup, he can fully focus on being a professional footballer.
“I want to see a work ethic where he wants to learn, develop and demand as much from himself as others around him. He ultimately loves scoring goals and he’s a natural.
“He’s a good lad and he has potential. This is just the start for him. He has a future in front of him but it is down to Joe Gbode to produce that future.”
Harrogate on Saturday
“We are looking forward to Saturday. I’ve not been there before, so it ticks a box for me. It’s going to be a great challenge, they are organised and difficult to break down.
“We have 19 points from the last nine games which is a fantastic return. We are still right up in the top three in the form table, we just need to respond in the right way after Tuesday’s loss.
“We are a team that is massively in form and moving in the right direction. It is a tough place to go and we have to make sure that professionally and mentality we are prepared. I have to make sure I pick the right team to impose ourselves on Harrogate.
“It’s a chance to beat a team around us and put some daylight between us and the bottom of the division.
“I can’t wait to go to Harrogate, it’s an opportunity to bounce back. We have to make sure that we are a ruthless away team.”
Big game mentality
“We have an experienced team and we have experienced players. Most of the lads would have played in these scenarios before at different levels, even play-offs, promotions and local derbies. I am quite relaxed with the group on big occasions.
“We are going with a one-game mindset and it will be the same on Saturday. We know we are playing against a rival in the league table but for us it is just the next opponent. We don’t fear anybody, we are going there to win a game of football, simple as that.
“The fans are just enjoying their football club at the moment. Sometimes I turn up at away games and I look at our fans and think, ‘Is that the away end or the home end?’
“The fans amaze me and I don’t take it for granted. I should probably stop saying it amazes me because I have been here over a year now and I have played here, they have always travelled well. It shouldn’t amaze me but it still does.
“The level of support is great for the players, it just adds to the warmth, feelgood factor and the momentum. It makes us want to win more. The fans are travelling in numbers and they deserve us to keep being successful.”