Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Gillingham v Stockport County preview: Stephen Clemence looks ahead to the visit of the League Two leaders to Priestfield

Gillingham welcome the league leaders to Priestfield tonight with hope of ending a costly run of form on home turf.

The Gills have started 2024 with three successive score draws at Priestfield, a stoppage-time goal denying them maximum points last Tuesday against Swindon Town.

Oli Hawkins battles for the ball at Priestfield last week Picture: @Julian_KPI
Oli Hawkins battles for the ball at Priestfield last week Picture: @Julian_KPI

Stockport County remain top of League 2 despite back-to-back defeats. They were thrashed 4-0 at lowly Tranmere on Saturday following on from a 3-1 home loss against promotion rivals Crewe Alexandra.

It sets up a night under the lights at Priestfield between two teams who have plenty of reason to put in a performance.

“It will be a big game,” said the Gills head coach Stephen Clemence. “I am sure there will be a big crowd, they will be right behind us and we hope they bring the same atmosphere they brought for the Swindon game.

“Let’s go and take Stockport on. I honestly believe we can beat anyone in the division on our day, we have nobody to fear.

Stephen Clemence enjoyed the atmosphere at Priestfield last week against Swindon Town Picture: @Julian_KPI
Stephen Clemence enjoyed the atmosphere at Priestfield last week against Swindon Town Picture: @Julian_KPI

“The problem is we have drawn our home games which means we have to pick up points away from home. We have done it the wrong way around.

“There are still plenty of games to go this season, there are plenty of points to play for and plenty of games we can still win. We can only look forward to the next one and try and beat Stockport.”

Gillingham kicked off their 2023/24 season at Stockport, winning 1-0. Robbie McKenzie scored the winner that day, late in the game.

The Gills have changed manager since their opening-day meeting with Stockport and are now one of many clubs hoping to make the play-off places this season - the automatics are looking ever-more distant - and with just one win from their last six, form isn’t on their side.

“We don’t want to concede too many more goals like we did (on Saturday),” Clemence said, having lost 1-0 to Newport.

“It was a really good finish but you can do something about every goal, sometimes it happens, we don’t want to concede too many goals but it was probably the first time in a while we haven’t scored as well.

“We have been on a run where we have been scoring (netting in eight successive matches) so I think we will be a threat to any opponent. I don’t think people will look forward to playing us.”

League 2 table

Stockport’s weekend thrashing shows how unpredictable League 2 is this season. The chase for the automatic places remains wide open while teams as low as 16th might still be looking for a top-seven finish. Just two points separate seventh-placed Harrogate - who recently lost 9-2 against Mansfield - with Newport in 14th.

Clemence said: “League 2 was always going to be difficult with the teams in it. There are some good budgets and people have spent well but we are still in there.

“If we could have nicked something (on Saturday) we would have been in a stronger position and we seem to be saying that too many times lately.

“We have to start making sure we get the points we deserve and I felt we at least deserved a point away from home and away to Newport that would have been an okay result, with the form they have been in, but unfortunately we couldn’t do it

“We dust ourselves down and get prepared for Stockport.”

Gillingham fans played their part last week against Swindon, backing the players from the off with a rousing rendition of The Last Waltz. Clemence is hoping for more of the same.

He said: I thought we saw something that was created against Swindon that I would like to see carry on at every game, at the start, it really got the fans up and we could hear it through the first half.

“The fans were fantastic and even though we weren’t playing towards the end they were all at, the boys could hear them and long may that continue because we know second half there is always a great atmosphere going towards the Rainham End. If we can have that through the whole game that is great for the players and really helps them.”

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