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Gillingham striker Josh Parker on the loss of Ady Pennock and looks ahead to Blackburn

By Luke Cawdell

Josh Parker felt frustration at seeing head coach Ady Pennock lose his job this week.

Pennock brought Parker to the Gills last season, a move that got the player’s career back on track, before handing him a two year deal in the summer.

No surprise then that the player was saddened at the news Pennock had agreed to leave by mutual consent.

Parker said: “For me he is the nicest coach I have ever had but when he had to be firm, he was firm. He was always complimentary of the players, always supportive and he wanted the best for us on and off the pitch.

“It is just a shame it ended the way it did. I feel like the players had a very close relationship with him, so it is frustrating to see him go, but it is not really in our power, even though we are the ones on the pitch.”

Parker and the team had to get on with focusing for Tuesday’s match with Scunthorpe and adopting the ideas of interim boss Peter Taylor.

The striker said: “Peter only had one day of training. The message was to go out there and do some justice and the boys were kind of doing it off the cuff because we didn’t have time to implement his ideas.”

Parker may have started Tuesday’s match but his absence from training on the Monday, for personal reasons, meant Elliott List got the nod himself.

The 26-year-old will now hope he catches the caretaker manager’s eye ahead of Saturday’s trip to Blackburn.

Parker said “I wasn’t best pleased with my performance on Tuesday, but it was a game more about working hard than what you were doing on the ball, you just had to put yourself about and make sure we came off the pitch with something.

“A point against Scunthorpe is important. I am still growing but I know where I am heading.

“I did what I could (on Tuesday), it was sloppy at times, but if I was to start on Saturday it would be a different.”

Few people will expect anything but a Blackburn win on Saturday but Parker feels that could play into their hands.

“The pressure will be on them,” he said.

“They have a bigger team and a bigger budget. They are classed as a Premier League team essentially. I think that plays in our favour.

“As a young boy you would dream of playing at places like that. It won’t be hard for us to raise our game.

“They might take us for granted, that we are below them and they are better than us, but so many times in football that comes and bites people in the bum.”

Parker’s new look, meanwhile, has divided opinion. A shaven head and a white beard isn’t the norm for a League 1 player but Parker doesn’t mind being the brunt of his team-mates jibes.

He said: “I first came (to Gillingham) in a trial game in 2015 when I left Red Star.

“I had a blonde beard then and all the young ones like DJ (Oldaker) and Litsty (Elliott List) remembered it. They said to me, ‘do you remember that reserve game, we thought you were a foreign player, you scored a couple.’ They told me to bring the beard back!

“They kept going on at me and last Sunday I thought, ‘I’ll do it’. It’s for my team-mates and it gives them something to take the Mickey out of me!”

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