Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Gillingham v Wrexham preview: Head coach Stephen Clemence sees progress since his first game in League 2 against the Welsh side

Head coach Stephen Clemence watched Gillingham concede inside a minute at Wrexham in November - but feels his side have made big strides since then.

Clemence took charge of his first league game for the Gills at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground – beaten 2-0 – and they were up against it from the off when conceding with just 50 seconds played. With 17 League 2 games now under his belt, the head coach feels they are in a much better position.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence pleased with progress since his first game in charge, at Wrexham Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence pleased with progress since his first game in charge, at Wrexham Picture: Keith Gillard

More: Veteran keeper on standby for Saturday

Speaking ahead of the meeting between the sides at Priestfield tomorrow (Saturday), Clemence said: “It wasn’t great when we conceded so early, we played Hereford the week before (in the FA Cup) and I was looking forward to taking on Wrexham, but we saw on the day they have a lot of quality and a lot of squad depth, but I think we are a better team now.

“I think we have improved in a lot of areas. I know that when I first came into the club we didn’t get enough crosses into the box, I know we do that now and I know we create more chances.

“I know we have scored more goals. I would still like us to score more, I think our xG (expected goals) is the biggest differential in the league as far as goals scored compared to what we should have scored and that shows we probably haven’t been clinical enough at times but we will keep working at it.

“I think one day we will score three or four goals against someone and against Notts County (on February 9) we could have scored four or five and that’s not long ago.

“Everyone was singing the boys’ praises and how well we played but we obviously have to improve that home form and start picking up wins at home - that’s four draws on the spin at home (after Tuesday’s goalless match with Stockport) - that is the intention.

“We know we have left points out there but there are 13 games to go, a lot of points to play for and all you can do is concentrate on the next game, which will be a big one with a big crowd here, they will get right behind us, the atmosphere will be electric and I am really looking forward to the game.”

The Gills head into the weekend eighth in the table, one place outside of the play-off positions on goal difference, but Walsall in 16th place are only three points behind in a hugely congested division.

Clemence knows they can still do more and that his side need to pick up wins more frequently.

He said: “We still have huge improvements to make and we can get better, I think that will come, we have had to find different ways to win matches, but we have created more and we have got more balls in the box.

League 2 table

“We are right up there with the different stats and overall we are fourth of fifth for corners, which is normally a good sign that you are putting pressure on the opposition.

“I think all of these numbers were quite low when I came in but the lads and my coaching staff have been fantastic and they try to take everything on board.

“There are encouraging signs we are getting better, we don't seem to be losing as many as when I first came in, it was win- lose-win-lose but we are now drawing more. When we don’t play well we can hang on and get something from the game and we have had some good wins as well.

“We have 13 to go and let’s see how many we can win.

“I have set targets to the team, you have to challenge them and show them what we need to do.

“This league is tough, it’s a competitive division and I am trying to look up the division rather than down it. I know if we can beat Wrexham (who are third) then we go eight points behind them, that is what we have to try and do.

“There will be a big crowd and a lot of interest with everything that’s gone on at Wrexham in the last two or three years, that does bring publicity, but for us it’s another game, we’re looking forward to and we will be looking to win it.

“I think it will be two good teams, we will have to offer a threat to them, but we will have to be aware of what they can bring as well.

“They have got unbelievable squad depth, a lot of good players and they’ve been building things for a little while. We’ll have to bring our A-game to get a result but I believe we’ll do that.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More