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Harris wants three more points
Harris wants three more points

Neil Harris will be looking for three more points at Priestfield this weekend as the League Two leaders welcome Morecambe to Kent, as Gillingham look to continue their impressive start to the season. 

Conditions are forecast to be considerably easier than last weekend for the win over Harrogate – a result that left the manager exhausted on the touchline – like most of the crowd in the lower tier of Priestfield’s main stand – but happy nonetheless… 

“Anybody who was at the game would have appreciated the conditions and the heat. It was almost as though when we knocked the ball out there was a collective sigh of relief for the break. It was a completely different test, but another one we mentally and physically overcame.” 

“We’re trying to be better with the ball this year and dominating the ball a bit more and having more ball time. I’m not saying that we need to have sixty-five, seventy per cent sort of time – not at all!”

“But trying to have a little but more control is important for us, trying to find different ways to bring players like Jonny Williams and Conor Mahoney that are technical ball players that we need to handle the ball a little bit better for sure.”

“But we don’t want to lose that “League Two” feel to us either where we can play forward and run forward and be direct and score from set plays.”

“The good teams get the balance – Leyton Orient got really good at it last year. They were a really good football team – you saw that here before we ran away with the game here; that was as good a football as I’ve seen, but what they could do was to have the ability to hit a seventy yard ball down the channel and put you on the back foot and they had real pace on the counter attack.”

“For as good a team they were, most of their goals were scored by direct play or set plays… and that’s League Two!”

“So as much as we’re trying to be a bit better with the ball, we’ve got to make sure that we get the balance between passing the ball and keeping it at times.”

“Obviously, we’re going to have to ask the fan base to be a little bit patient at times if we are trying to pass the ball around the back and then to penetrate is what we’re trying to do, and you have to get the balance right.”

“You do have to play the ball forward at the right times as well to ask questions of your opponents.” 

Harris – the centre forward – was then asked if he’d have like to have played against this Gillingham side.

“I wouldn’t have liked to play against the shape,” he replied. “I do ask the side to work hard and be disciplined which always brings me back to the goals we let in against Colchester – two set-pieces and a counter-attack – which was inexcusable really!”

“I don’t like giving soft goals away; I don’t like us giving cheap goals away and I don’t like us turning down shooting opportunities.”

“The lads know the rules and it’s down to them to go and deliver it. Of course, it helps when you’ve got experience in the team like Shaun Williams and Scott Malone who understand good shape and can organise behind when you’re attacking.”

“I want us to be difficult to play against – ultimately that got us through the second half of last season with the best points from January onwards behind Stockport.”

“We found ways to win games and be creative and that’s just where we, at the moment, need to make sure that we’re solid at the back!” 

The Gills boss admitted that Tom Nichols is very unlikely to be in the squad this weekend and will be missing alongside Tim Dieng and Dom Jeffries although there was better news of both Oli Hawkins and Lewis Walker who are both on the verge of returning to full training and may feature in a behind closed doors friendly next week.