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Former gardener Martin Allen believes experiences away from the professional game are helping his team

By Luke Cawdell

Martin Allen

Martin Allen believes that a taste of life away from football has been the driving force behind much of the team’s success.

The Gills returned to the top of League 2 on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Dagenham at Priestfield, displacing Port Vale, who slipped to a home defeat against Morecambe.

A number of Gillingham’s players and coaching staff, including Allen, have had to earn a living outside of the game and the Priestfield boss believes that experience is a big positive.

Allen (pictured) said: “Anton Robinson, Steven Gregory and Leon Legge were all non-league and that tells you a story about where I am and how I am.

“I want people who are hungry and are willing to do the extra training, extra work and extra gym work. These people have had to do extra in everything they do to make them into footballers.

“They have an appetite, a hunger and a desire. If I say come in at 8am they come in at quarter to.

“When you ask them to run up a hill at 8am they don’t say ‘why?’ They just say ‘how many times do you want me to do it?’ I love that about these young people we have here. They just can’t stop training and it makes a difference.”

New loan signing Michael Richardson, from Newcastle, was working as an electrician for the council three years ago while midfielder Charlie Allen was recently earning a living on a building site.

Allen himself had a stint as a gardener while assistant boss John Schofield was a mechanic and goalkeeper coach Carl Muggleton was a driving instructor.

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