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Club News

Appleton's Programme Notes for Gillingham

22 November 2016

"It’s important that we build on the result and the performance from Saturday"

Good evening everyone and welcome back as we take on Gillingham. In this, the tightest of divisions, there is just one point and one place between us so I think you will see a very close game between two good sides tonight.

It’s important that we build on the result and the performance from Saturday against Coventry. Too many times this season we have played well in one game and then not taken that on and followed it up the next time we played. Turn one win into two, build a bit of momentum, get the confidence going and it’s amazing what can happen. 

We trained up at Bisham Abbey last week and had the chance to sit down as a group and talk at length about the standards and culture that we expect here. It was good to get away as a group and not have any distractions. One of the things we talked about was starting games properly and setting the tone from the very first whistle. I was delighted to see that put into practice on Saturday where we were very bright and on the front foot straight away.

We could easily have been ahead even before Kane scored the opener with a good finish, but then the big thing for me was that we kept our foot down and kept trying to extend our lead rather than sit back and try and consolidate. Coventry had been in good form and had been playing well but we totally dominated the first half and could have been more than 3-0 up at the break.

It was an interesting chat at half time because you want the players to keep doing what got them that lead but you also need to be realistic. Coventry had nothing to lose and were bound to give it a go after the break but we made blocks and defended when we needed to and then killed the game off with Macca’s fourth goal. If I’m ultra-critical then missing out on a clean sheet was the one thing missing from an excellent afternoon’s work.

It came at a price though. We were already without Liam Sercombe, who is going to be missing for a while with medial ligament damage. We initially thought it would be six months but the specialist thinks it could be quicker so that is a crumb of comfort. Sadly, it looks as though he will be joined in the treatment room by Wes Thomas, who ruptured his Achilles on Saturday. Both will be big misses for us but you build a squad to cope with all eventualities and others will have a chance to shine in their absence.

Happily, Joe Skarz was released from hospital on Saturday night after a nasty looking clash of heads. We will monitor that and do the right thing, but we should have Marvin Johnson available again; congratulations to him and his partner on the safe arrival of their daughter. Hopefully we all get something to celebrate this evening with another win.

Michael

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