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Gillingham midfielder Ben Reeves happy to be involved again and remains confident they can avoid relegation in League 1

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Ben Reeves hopes the first half display by Gillingham on Saturday is the sign of things to come.

Relegation-threatened Gillingham took a third minute lead against Burton but were unable to capitalise any further from a decent first 45. Defensive errors crept in again after the break as that good early work was undone.

Ben Reeves was handed a rare league start for Gillingham against Burton Albion. Picture: KPI
Ben Reeves was handed a rare league start for Gillingham against Burton Albion. Picture: KPI

Burton equalised shortly after the restart and a Gills side that are short of confidence were unable to recover, conceding twice more late on.

It was only a third league start for Reeves, his last coming in August, and he was focussing on the positives on a day when the Gills slipped another point further adrift from safety.

“First half was a sign of things to come and hopefully we can build on that,” said the 30-year-old.

“It was gutting how the second half went, we didn’t feel like we deserved that after the first half showing, we just have to show the belief now and for everyone to stick together, from the top of the club to the bottom and make sure we can build on it.

“There were a few sloppy mistakes, it proved costly, but we need to take the positives and make sure we climb up the table.

“Unfortunately after they got their goal the belief went a bit and we have to find a way to keep believing because in the first half we showed we can be a really good team. The way Steve (Lovell, caretaker boss) set us up and the work he had done with us was brilliant and likewise with the rest of the staff.

“We have a lot of games coming up and hopefully we can change our position as quickly as possible. I know we are a few points off (safety) but we need to keep believing and the first half performance will give us a bit more confidence. It was gutting after the second half but we showed how much we want it and I am sure we will get out of it.

“We need to believe in ourselves and take the first half positives into the next game and the games going forward because I think we played very well in the first half, possibly the best we have played all season, we just need to build on that and make it last the 90 minutes. I feel like we will, it is just a matter of believing in ourselves.”

Reeves lasted 80 minutes on Saturday before fatigue crept in - it's the longest time he’s been on the field in a league game for the Gills this season.

The former Charlton, MK Dons and Plymouth midfielder was clearly feeling a lot more positive from a personal perspective after being given an opportunity by Lovell. He played just behind the front two.

He said: “I just want to play more and more football, I have not played enough, so hopefully we can kick on from here.

“It had been a good week and I can only praise Steve for taking over and Macca [injured player Alex MacDonald has been assisting] for what they have done and all the other staff, it was a brilliant week and I am just gutted we didn’t have the three points to show for it because I feel like we deserved it.

“We are only going to get better, that [the weekend performance] is the sign of the least of what we can do and hopefully we can get better and better every game.

“It has been very frustrating, that is how it goes in football sometimes, you don’t fit in the team or can’t get into the team but I played and I can hopefully build on that.

“I just want to enjoy my football again. All the boys are happy, everyone in the changing room is happy now, we believe we can get out of it. It is about sticking together and keeping the belief.”

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