"The Kentishmen will … rise …
for they are … full of spirit"
(And before anyone starts being pedantic about “Kentishmen” and “Men of Kent”, I’m well aware of the different usage, but if it’s good enough for Shakespeare then it’s good enough for me. Now, as for the game…)
Here we are, three competitive games into the new season, and I feel sure that not many people would have seriously predicted the situation in which we find ourselves. Undefeated, over the first hurdle in what may be a Cup Run, and with a goal difference of 6-3 Well, hang on to your hats because Gillingham’s start practically mirrors ours … they are 100% in their League One games and only went out of the League Cup at Millwall on penalties, having kept a clean sheet for the 90 minutes. Over their 3 games they have a goal difference of 5-1 - results so far:-
Aug 4th Accrington Stanley (A) Won 0-2
Aug 11th Burton Albion (H) Won 3-1
Aug 14th Millwall (A - League Cup) Drew 0-0 Millwall through 3-1 on penalties
In the League One table Gillingham are comfortably in the play-off zone, being one of only 5 teams with maximum points after the 2 games. We, of course, are only 2 points behind them, so a Saddlers’ win on Saturday will see us leap-frog over them at the very least. One of the contributors to a Gills’ forum points out that their League position may be slightly misleading, as their 2 opponents so far have come from the group of teams predicted to struggle, whereas our matches have been against Plymouth Argyle and Scunthorpe United, both rated pre-season as likely to be pushing for promotion. As always, time will tell …
Dean Keates has the pleasant “headache” of deciding which of his umpteen in-form squad to select for this game. The changes he made for last night’s encounter at Prenton Park were only 3 in number, and I would expect Liam Roberts to resume his place. The other two (Wilson for Devlin, and Kinsella for Osbourne) are not so certain. There does seem to be a bit of a fitness issue with Osbourne, and reports of the Tranmere game do say that Kinsella didn’t disappoint. I’m unsure of the current ruling on bookings leading to suspensions, but George Dobson already has 2 yellow cards to his name - and his will be a hard act to follow. The strike force pretty well takes care of itself, but perhaps Josh Gordon will get more than a cameo role for the final 10 minutes or so…
Prediction? I’m always uneasy about games against Gillingham, mostly because way back in my youth Gillingham were definitely our bogey team - they always seemed to win against us by 1-0, with Brian Yeo constantly making our keeper pick the ball out of the net. However, I don’t think Yeo is part of their current set-up, so I’ll go for a 2-1 home win, with Cook (at last!) and Ferrier scoring.