Opposition View – Gillingham

By Sam Stone

After consecutive victories against Bolton and Doncaster,  Pompey will be looking to make it three League wins in row for the first time since April.

On Saturday Kenny Jackett’s men face a Gillingham side that currently sit one point and one place above the Blues in the lower fragment of the League One table.

I caught up with Matt from Gillsinthebloodtv to get the lowdown on their season so far and to find out if he believes they can continue their excellent recent form against Pompey.

S – You seemed to have experienced a summer of change with a new manager and plenty of new recruits. How would you assess the start of the season?

M – I think the start has been a mixture of promise and frustration. Aside from Oxford away we’ve been in the game in every match we’ve played, and we’ve bossed most sides we’ve come up against for at least periods of all the fixtures. With a bit more luck and better game management we could easily have a few more point than our current total of 13.

S – With Steve Evans coming in, has there been a distinct difference in your style of play compared to last year?

M – I think there has. At times we’ve had to go from back to front quickly, but there seems to be more of a method to how are trying to play this season and at times we’ve put together some really good stuff. With technically sound midfielders such as Alfie Jones and Olly Lee, plus quick and tricky front men, it means we’ve been able to try and get the ball down and play through teams.

S – Which players have stood out so far this season, that Pompey fans should look out for on Saturday?

M – Alfie Jones has been a revelation since moving from centre back to central midfield. Connor Ogilvie has got better at Centre half since forcing his way in. Alex Jakubiak started the season really well and Brandon Hanlan is one of the hardest working forwards I’ve seen pull on a Gills shirt and will only continue to improve.

S – What have been Gillingham’s main weaknesses this season and where would you be looking to improve?

M – The start of the campaign saw us make a habit of getting in front and then allowing sides to peg us back which was frustrating and cost us a few points, but we seemed to have rectified that now. I would say that with plenty of youngsters in the squad we are still sometimes prone to being a little naïve at crucial times in games, but as I’ve said we are improving that in my opinion.

S – As a Gillingham fan, what do you make of Pompey’s start to the season? 

M – It’s a tricky one considering you are at least a couple of games behind the majority of teams, but if I had to pick one word I would say indifferent. Your big names don’t seem to be quite firing yet, and from the outside looking in, it seems that Kenny Jackett perhaps doesn’t know his best side yet. I’m sure you’ll get it right sooner rather than later, but preferably not on Saturday though!

S Gillingham have an excellent recent record against Pompey. Who do you think will come out on top on Saturday? And what tactics do you think Gillingham need to employ to win on Saturday?

M – Haha, we’ve won the last three conceding only once haven’t we and scored some very good goals in that time too. Regardless of that though it will be a tough game against a side full of good players. We don’t need to do too much different to what we’ve done for the majority of games to date, but I still think a point would be a decent result.

S – Finally, what is your score prediction?

M – You have been pretty inconsistent so far this season, and we’ve had a bit of a hold over you in recent fixtures. However, our away form hasn’t been the best this season, so I’ll happily take a 1-1 draw.

Photo: Portsmouth FC

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