Match Preview Xtra: Matt from GillsInTheBlood
Ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup 2nd Round meeting with Gillingham, we sat down for the second time this season with Matt from GillsInTheBlood to get his thoughts on the game and his team's season so far.
Read on to see what Matt had to say on Sunday's cup clash, and when you've done that be sure to check out our full match preview before the game.
ITEN: Gillingham are safely in midtable but struggling for consistency despite some impressive wins, not unlike ourselves. Are you happy with where the Gills are at this stage of the campaign?
Matt: I am and I’m not if that makes sense.
I’ve been impressed with the way that Steve Evans has made us harder to play against, because Oxford and Rotherham aside we’ve been in every single league game this season.
Being hard to beat will always give you a chance in games, but despite the old phrase ‘the table never lies’ I can’t help but think where we could be if not for a couple of leads being let slip and not being as clinical as we could in front of goal.
We spoke at the start of the season of the struggle to replace goalscorers – John Marquis for us, Tom Eaves for you – do you feel your strikers have stepped into the void?
I guess we will only be able to truly answer that at the end of the season, but as it stands I think there have been games we would’ve won but haven’t if we still had Tom Eaves in our ranks.
Last week’s defeat at Wimbledon was a prime example, because we bossed the game but ultimately paid the prices for missing multiple chances.
Don’t get me wrong though, I think all of our front-men can offer us something if given consistent minutes, but whether any will end up with 15 or so goals remains up for debate.
How would you assess Steve Evans in his first few months as manager?
Two words I’ve used all season so far are promising and frustrating.
Promising in the sense that I think overall the squad looks stronger and hungrier than last season - minus that consistent goal threat - and we are undoubtedly harder to play through.
Frustrating in the sense that if we had held onto a few more leads and had that consistent poacher type forward then we could currently be sat in the top eight in the division.
It was a gutsy win over Sunderland in Round 1. Is an FA Cup run important to Gillingham and the fans this season?
I think an FA Cup run is always of importance to sides of the size and stature of us for plenty of reasons.
Number one, it’s great for us fans to have the chance to see us potentially take on one of the countries big hitters if we make it to the 3rd Round, and that in turn means the chance to earn some well needed cash.
For us specifically this season that could be the difference between getting a proven striker in or not, and therefore in turn the opportunity to push on higher up the league table.
What do you think will be the key battle in the game? Are you confident of getting through?
It’s tricky to gage what the key battles could be because I am not sure what type of side either manager will put out? The league game on the opening day was tight and fairly even so I imagine this game following a similar pattern.
It’s a great opportunity for both sides, but I’m quietly confident we can get into the next round having seen us win our last three home fixtures without conceding.