We get the view from Kent ahead of the Monday night clash
As we’re playing Gillingham on Monday, we spoke to the team behind Gills forum Gillingham Debate to have a look at the clash. We see how their season has gone so far, identify their key men, and also talk about having to make a long trip north on a Monday night. As a London-based Wanderer who is making the trip, I know the pain. Anyway…
You’re six points off the playoffs, seven above the drop zone. How would you rate this season? Are you looking up or down?
After a decent opening month things went dramatically downhill (11 games, 7 points, one win) in September and October. However, the last month or so has seen our form take a turn for the better. Despite the embarrassment of a shocking exit to Brackley Town in the first round of the FA Cup, we have picked up nine points out of our four league games finishing the month with a nice 3-0 win over promotion chasing Rochdale.
There has been some feeling that the wins have been lucky given the way we secured one with a 90th minute stunner (a 2-1 win against Northampton) and another where we got battered the whole second half and scored our second with our only shot on target in that half (a 2-1 win vs Walsall) but then when you`re in a rut, sometimes you need a bit of a lucky turnaround.
I assume the move to a Monday night fixture has gone down well…
Haha no, not at all! Personally I`d have been up at the game if it had been on the Saturday or the Sunday, but it`s logistically impossible to manage it on a Monday evening. We`ve sold around 160 tickets which isn`t too bad I suppose but it could have probably been another hundred or two on that given you`re the ‘big` team in the division this season.
What should we expect tactically?
Recently things have been given a shift around on the tactical front. The whole of last season and the beginning couple of months of this month saw us majorly use a 4-4-2 narrow diamond (four central midfielders) and sometimes a 5-3-2 system with wing backs.
However, we`ve now gone to a 4-2-3-1/ 4-3-3 set-up with the ‘wingers` being more strikers playing on the ‘wrong side` of a typical winger (i.e. right footer on the left), thus allowing them to cut in on their strong foot to take shots at goal.
A lot of the time we still end up playing the big long ball despite our striker not being a target man or the tallest of people but there`s been positive signs of us playing the ball on the ground and looking confident doing so.
Who is your man to watch?
JET (Jay Emmanuel-Thomas). A bit of an enigma, he may spend the whole game not doing much at all but he can pop up with a goal at any point and has the quality on his day of being a Championship player easily. Probably the inconsistency of his performances and slight lack of work rate mean he isn`t a main man in the division above but he has the ability to win a game single handily in this division, no doubt.
Star man of last season Bradley Dack hasn`t quite been the same man due to some niggling injuries, and we`ve been utilising him out wide to get him game time without being in the rough and tumble of the middle of the pitch. I`d imagine however he will return to a central area against you on Monday and his form is beginning to pick up again.
And finally, a score prediction?
Tough one. I`d like to say a Gills win to carry on our upturn but sadly I can see: Bolton 2-1 Gillingham