Gills v Portsmouth: Preview



Interim manager Peter Taylor is looking to win just his second game in charge when his much-depleted Gills squad welcome Portsmouth on Sunday.

Both managers are desperate for a win, with Taylor proving he could be the right man for the job to pull Gillingham out of trouble whilst Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has seen his side fail to gain any momentum, having failed to win successive matches once all season.

All the news this week has been surrounding Peter Taylor after he pledged his management services until the Colchester match in midweek however with no new appointments and the Portsmouth game on the horizon, there are still question marks in the club’s management with Taylor looking likely to be in the dugout again.

A top source in the club’s management did confirm he believed a new manager would be announced within the week with many names still being talked about.

First team coach Steve Lovell spoke at a press conference earlier today.

“I’ve not heard anything from the board but whatever happens, happens” he said.

“All we can do is be focused for the game on Sunday, everything else is out of our hands”.

Lovell has previously spoken about his close relationship with current interim boss Taylor and is happy to continue working with the veteran.

“Our job is just to make sure there is a team out there on Sunday that is ready to play.

“Weird things happen in football and we’re enjoying what we’re doing”.

Experienced centre-back Gabriel Zakuani is unavailable after being called up for international duty with DR Congo.

His absence from the squad, alongside injured defensive pair Luke O’Neill and Alex Lacey means Taylor may be forced to hand Finn O’Mara successive starts as he attempts to steady the back line.

The Gills sit second from bottom, without a win in three, two points shy of safety whereas Pompey, promoted from League 2 last season, were initially tipped to attempt a promotion charge but have struggled with just four wins in their eleven league matches.

The two sides last met at Priestfield over a decade ago in the League Cup back in September 2005, with the Gills emerging 3-2 winners in that bout.

The televised match was rescheduled to Sunday giving Peter Taylor’s side an extra day of recovery after their hard fought 1-0 cup win away at Colchester in midweek.

First team coach Steve Lovell doesn’t believe there will be a problem having the match pushed back.

“There’s no problem for us. We’ll train on the Saturday morning, obviously we had to change the routine for the week leading up to the match but we’ve done that now”.

Meanwhile Gills’ woes continue to be in front of goal, with several clear-cut chances against Blackburn spurned.

But with just 6 goals all season, Lovell feels his side have been unlucky and the issue of goal scoring does not need urgent addressing.

“You work on technique in training but it’s a natural thing, goal scoring” he said.

“Picking up the good habits is the key and I feel we’ve been doing that in training.”

Hessenthaler added: “We need to start being more ruthless. We’ve been ruthless in our own box and haven’t conceded a lot.

“We do create chances and against Blackburn we created three or four very good ones. We need to start taking them because that’s what wins matches at the end of the day”.

The omens don’t bode well for the Gills as their last televised match at Priestfield, over a year ago, was a losing effort against promotion winners Sheffield United and current SkyBet odds have a win for the hosts at 16/5.

Phil Wellbrook

South London and proud. Well it's kind of Kent. It has London buses and is on the tube zones. But it has Kent in my address. But on the way to uni I pass a sign saying 'Welcome to Kent' so I must not be in Kent yet. But I have a BR postcode which is a London borough. But it's not an SE postcode so it's technically London. I don't know