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The relegation battle in League 1 is hotting up but Gillingham defender Barry Fuller knows what it takes to survive

By Luke Cawdell

Experienced defender Barry Fuller has never known anything like it.

The Gills are embroiled in a relegation battle that involves half of the division.

Following their 1-0 home defeat to Bristol Rovers, the Gills dropped from 13th to 17th.

Barry Fuller in action against Barnsley Picture: Ady Kerry
Barry Fuller in action against Barnsley Picture: Ady Kerry

Mid-table Plymouth are only five points clear of the drop zone and with only nine games left for most teams, it’s set to be a bitter scrap to avoid those bottom four places. Fuller is a veteran of several relegation battles and knows what is needed to get out of trouble.

“It takes grit and determination,” he said.

“You need to make sure you are up for the battle, games aren’t going to be pretty now.

“We are playing a lot of teams around us, they want the same as us, do we want it more than them on the day? I am pretty sure we will be ready for the battle when it comes.

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“I don’t think I have ever seen it this close. I think from 11th to the relegation zone it is six or seven points at the moment with nine to go, it could be anyone.

“A couple of wins and you can be up there but a couple of losses and you are looking back over your shoulder and it’s nervy times. We just have to focus on ourselves and if we do our job we haven’t got to worry about what other people do.”

Barry Fuller has been a key player for the Gills this season Picture: Ady Kerry
Barry Fuller has been a key player for the Gills this season Picture: Ady Kerry

The Gills lost on Tuesday night to fellow scrappers Bristol Rovers.

“There wasn’t a lot in the game,” said the defender, who was Gills’ star performer on the night.

“It was a frustrating one for us, there weren’t many chances for either team and (Rovers won with) one moment of magic from their guy (Jonson Clarke-Harris). It was a hell of a strike and he won’t hit one better in his career.

“That was probably all it was going to take for anyone to win that game. It was a little cagey, it was a frustrating one for us. We had a lot of the ball but it just wouldn’t drop for us, we couldn’t get it in the net.

“We can’t beat ourselves up too much, we are obviously disappointed to have lost the game. We have been on a decent run but we just have to go again and have a little run together. Starting Saturday (at leaders Luton Town), we know it will be tough.”

Luton haven’t lost at home yet this season but Fuller sees no reason why they can’t put an end to that record.

Gillingham defender Barry Fuller Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham defender Barry Fuller Picture: Ady Kerry

Fuller said: “They have been working hard there and they have gone on a good run. Belief and confidence in football is massive, it shows you, they’re are on that run and at the minute they are like a steam train.

“They are unbeaten at home, as I said to the boys, that has to end sooner or later, hopefully it can be Saturday against us.

“People will expect us not to get anything, like when we went to Portsmouth, but we did the job there. We had a bad result at home to Luton and we owe them one. We will give our all there.”

Fuller was lively throughout the midweek game with Bristol Rovers and despite being Gills’ senior figure, he has no issues with fitness.

He said: “I feel fit as anything, probably fitter than when I was here before. I have a few good years in me and I would love to finish my career here.

“I am a family man, I rest up quite a lot. I have three girls and they make sure I do get my rest. I am in the gym to tick over when I need to but the most important thing is to stay injury free and look after your body.”

Fuller: I would love to finish my career with the Gills

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