Lovell challenges players to continue form
Lovell challenges players to continue form

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell has challenged his players to carry their recent good form on until the end of the season and to beat the points value that the side obtained last season.Speaking to KSN at this week’s press briefing the Gills boss began by reflecting on what was in the end a battling point won against Rochdale at Priestfield last weekend. The Gills coach admitted, “It was a bit of a physical game – one that we expected with Rochdale being down in the bottom four – I thought they worked hard and got a point for their manager and as it turns out the job as well as he was appointed this week.  They got the point that they came for but I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the three points as I feel that we had enough chances to win the game.  All in all, though it was a tough well-earned point!”

Staying in a reflecting mood, Lovell looked back over the season, “We’ve had three parts to the season,” he said. “We started well and then had a mid-season blip where we had a bad run which coincided with people being injured and a couple of suspensions.  And then the last nine games, you need to look at the goals conceded – in the middle part where we had a bad spell, we conceded quite a few very poor goals which were our own fault!  So, we’ve stopped them – there haven’t been too many of them happening now and that’s been a major fact for us and the consistency of the team I think is a major aspect as well – we haven’t changed the team much in the last seven games…”

Discussions then turned to the five loan players that the manager brought to the Cub in January – Lovell was asked if he’d like them to stay beyond the period of their loan period. “Definitely that’s the whole idea,” Lovell said.  “They’ve all fitted in very well and are great lads to have around the football club as they all work hard and they are what we’re all about here but the main thing is what they do on the football field and Graham and Leo have brought us something that I’m really happy with and I’m sure that Tav and Billy will if they get a chance but we cant do it unless we’ve seen it yourself and that is the difficult thing  I’ve got to  make decisions between now and the end of the season what we’re going to do.  But it will become clearer if we can get Tav and Billy onto the pitch and have a look at them and that’s something that I’m really conscious of doing.  The whole point of it is giving them the opportunity for them to show me that they’re worth staying here – they most probably are but I’ve got to see it for myself in this environment in League One.  In training they’ve been fantastic but again training is different to playing and when they’re given their opportunity, I’m sure that they will show me what they can do!”

Turning his attention to the weekends trip to London Road and a side whose season mirrored in many ways to Lovell’s own. “Peterborough have had a very much up and down season. They started well and they had a mid-season blip as well. Again, in the last four or five games they’ve struggled result wise – they can be excellent on their day or they can be mediocre. In the last couple of home games, they did really well against Southend but didn’t against Coventry last time. Two different games, but we’ll go there with confidence and be prepared properly as if we give them too much time on the ball, they will hurt us. We’ve got to be ready and aware that they’ll still be looking for Play Off points.   They’ve played three different formations in recent weeks as I know they’ve got a couple of players coming back into the game – it will be a very open game I known that – if we do what we did against Luton and set out very well against them and matched them throughout the game which is something we have to do on Saturday and match them to get the breaks.”

To the weekend’s all important team news… “Callum (Reilly) still has a thigh problem which he got rather bizarrely on the day be before Rochdale, whilst Billy (Bingham) has trained all week which is a huge plus for us whilst sadly Ricky’s still not right. We knew it would a gamble when we signed him, and we’ve got to be sure that he won’t do himself any long term damage in playing – we’ve got to be careful about his future and we’re doing the best we can but just don’t know if we’re going to see him.”

“I don’t think I’ll have a difficult summer as we’ll be looking to bring in the players who we want to bring in as well as keeping the players that we want to keep and of course we want both Tom (Eaves) and Tomas (Holy) to stay. One thing with next is that it will be the first time that we’ll have a full squad that I’ve brought to the club myself! But we’re looking to finish this season – safe of course – as well as we can and with more points than we go last season – and that was 56!”