After a mixed week for Gillingham on the pitch, boss Ady Pennock was in defiant mood when he spoke to KSN and the rest of the media this week.
“They were better than us all over the pitch there’s no denying that!” Pennock admitted reflecting on Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss at home to Bolton Wanderers.
“They were very good on the day and showed us just why they’ve done so well this season. You have to put your hands up – yes we’re disappointed at the goals we conceded and so we must move on and I for one am really looking forward to Saturday. I’ve got itchy feet and can’t wait to get going.
Asked about the weekend trip to the North West, Pennock said, “Rochdale play similar football to Bury and like Scunthorpe they haven’t won for a while. I said to the boys that we’ll have to go there and be positive and be on our front foot and hopefully get the points.”
“Again it’s a difficult place to go – they had their pitch relayed recently which should be nice. But it’s forecast to rain up there all Friday and then again Saturday, but with a new pitch it should be OK.”
“We’ll go there full of positives and the boys are chomping at the bit – when you lose a game like we did on Tuesday you just want to get back on the road and get playing again and hopefully get the three points.”
The Gills boss was then asked to comment on some of the defending that he’s seen since being in charge.
He replied, “I’m not going to sit here and criticise anyone – we’ve got eight games to go and the players have been absolutely first class and we need every single one of them!”
“There is no point me sitting here saying “so-and-so could have done better for this” or “so-and-so could have done better for that”, “the defence could have done this”; “the midfield players could have done that” – I’m not here to criticise anybody and there’s a good togetherness in that changing room at the moment and that’s what we must have and I’m not going to lose that by telling you that I’m not happy with them when I am – I’m very happy with them.”
“We’re in the situation where we’re fighting for our lives and that’s the case in every single game we play for the remainder of the season.”
“We’ve gone to difficult places and even here against Scunthorpe when we were two nil down, the togetherness at the football club showed though as we got a result from nowhere after a bad day at the office.”
“And if you’ve got the desire to keep going and that shows you and me what sort of characters we’ve got here!”
“We’ll have to start better than we did on Tuesday that’s for sure. I’ve even at times been tempted to get one of those bingo machines for team selection as soon as we get one back we lose someone else.”
“We’ve got a couple of late tests again at Rochdale, but I do believe in everyone in the squad. We’ll give Scott Wagstaff and Ryan Jackson and Rory Donnelly fitness tests on Saturday but Chris Herd is a definite no for the weekend along with the other long terms – we had a light training session before we left as at the moment they’re all wrapped up in cotton wool to a degree, but whoever we name on Saturday, I know will give me and the team one hundred percent, which is what we need where we are!”
Pennock then had praise for the backing that his side received against Bolton despite the disappointing display.
“Our supporters on Tuesday showed to me once again that they are amongst the best around. The fans here know their football and saw that Bolton were a big strong side – it was like men against boys – we didn’t give up; I thought the second half was better and we never threw the towel in as some would at three nil down at half time.”
The Gills boss was then asked how close he believed his side were to safety. Speaking before Port Vale’s Friday night win over Shrewsbury cut the gap between Gillingham and the relegation places to just four points, Pennock admitted, “I still think we need three wins to be absolutely safe.”
“Saturday is yet another Cup Final for us and we’ve got to treat it as such. I’ve said 52 points will be enough all along – get there and we should be alright.”
“History tells us that only one team has ever gone down from League One with 52 and so if we can get to that mark or more it will be fantastic.”
“We’ve got to take each game as it comes and that’s the biggest challenge and hopefully we’ll get the points on Saturday.”