Dempsey hoping for great Xmas
Dempsey hoping for great Xmas

Gillingham skipper Kyle Dempsey has been talking to KSN about the truncated start to his career at Priestfield and in the second part of our exclusive interview, he’s been looking ahead to the coming months with optimism and hopes that he may yet get a sadly unlikely Christmas present.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play in a lot of good teams over the years,” Dempsey told us, “and I think the quality that is in this building, there’s no reason why we cant be up in the top half of the table.”

“I think we had a little jitter recently where we… I wouldn’t say we were unfortunate because you’ve got to make your own luck, but I think we weren’t clinical enough as a team.”

“I think there were a couple of weeks where we should have been out of sight by half-time and we didn’t take our chances. We dwelled on them into the second half and then other teams nick a goal and you think it’s not our day again!”

“But I think the win against Crewe definitely gave us the confidence that we needed – we were clinical on the night, we got the goal, and got the three points – and then we showed real character and desire to get over the line in the FA Cup against Woking.”

Dempsey faces his first “A2” derby on Saturday as Charlton Athletic make the short trip to Priestfield – he’s played in derbies ay his previous clubs, but never in an empty stadium which will be different for everyone as the Gills skipper admitted. “I think the local derby itself will get taken out of perspective,” he said, continuing “I think that it will be just another game really!”

“You can’t really look at it as a derby as much as you like because you know that they would have packed out the away end and we’d have packed our stadium out!”

“For us at the moment, I don’t think we’re concentrating on games as massive games – all we’re focusing on is ourselves and getting three points. We’re sat in a position in the League where we know fine well, we should be a lot higher and we should have more points on the board but that obviously hasn’t happened!”

“For us now, it’s just building and building and just getting as many points on the board as we can in these busy next two months either side of Christmas.”

Injuries seem to be playing a bigger and bigger part in this strangest of seasons, and we asked the Gills skipper following his own, if the players themselves were more conscious this year than before.

“I wouldn’t say it was a concern,” he replied. “I think if you do look and break it down, you’re seeing a lot more injuries than you would in a normal season just because of the workload in which is going in.”

“I think obviously with all the Cups as well as the League and when some clubs are also unfortunate to pick up positive COVID results which forces them to miss two weeks, they’re now having to play catch up even more in a month where they might not have played as many games.”

“I think that it is a real workload and a demand on the players, but I think its’ just that as a professional, you’ve got to manage yourself in the best possible way – fuelling your body more, concentrating more on your recovery and just making sure that you are in the finest condition that you can be in going into each game.”

With the Festive season rapidly approaching, we suggested that it perhaps could be the ideal time to readmit fans to Priestfield – unsurprisingly Dempsey like the idea; he admitted, “That would honestly be lovely! I think just having the fans in there… I haven’t had the honour to play in front of the home crowd yet!”

“I’ve heard big things and every time I’ve played at Priestfield as a player, it is a tough ground to play to – the fans get right behind the team – and so for me, I just can’t wait until we can get them back in the ground and allow me to showcase what I’m about and hopefully lead the side to have a successful year, especially with the fans backing!”

“We started the season not having played any games together, but now we’re getting to the stage where we are a real team – we’ve bonded really well and we couldn’t ask for a better dressing room, and it now is just about us delivering on the pitch…”

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.