Experienced striker Aiden O’Brien admits it was refreshing to join a club and find such harmony within the camp.
O’Brien - a January loan signing from Shrewsbury - made his first start for the Gills on Saturday after three games coming off the bench.
“There aren’t any bad eggs here, which is very refreshing,” said the 29-year-old former Millwall striker.
“Sometimes you can go to places where you think teams are struggling because there are a few people that aren’t doing it right but everyone does it right here, the manager, the staff, the players, everyone, it’s just a good group.
“Since I have been here, whether they are playing or aren’t playing, whether it’s about time off, it has been great management and a big shout out to the boys as well, it is a really good group of boys who want to do well for each other, no matter what.
“As long as you recruit players that aren’t a bad egg, as they say in this game, then I am pretty sure they will slot in like those who have come in now, like Lapo (George Lapslie) and others. It has fitted like a glove, you wouldn’t have thought we were only just signed, that is credit to the football club, run really well and I am looking forward to the next game and carrying on the rest of the season.”
The players got together on Friday night before their match with Rochdale for some team bonding.
O’Brien said: “We play this thing called ‘Wolf’, we had dinner and got around a table. It is a silly old game but all the boys are there playing it, laughing, joking. It is just good for team morale. Some boys might not be as loud as others and it is just a nice way of gelling the team. Little stuff like that can make a big difference with morale and togetherness and performances, so that 2-0 win was down to that board game!”
O’Brien has played under Neil Harris before, at Millwall, and since leaving The Den he’s been with Sunderland and Portsmouth, before joining Shrewsbury. Injury has held him back this term but he’s full of energy again and loving life at the Gills.
He said: “It has been very easy for me to slot in because of the manager and Livers (the assistant) as well and how easy it is for the boys to take me in as one of their own straight away, it was very easy, one of the easiest things I have every had to do in my football career, it felt so natural, like I have know them for ages. I am loving my time here.
“I have been with the manger all my career really, I have known him for 10-plus years and with him it is not so much a convo, it is a like father-son, ‘hello, fancy a few games’ type thing. It was an easy convo.
“I have been injured this season, unfortunately for myself, first time ever I have had surgery which is not great but I have got myself into a position where I am back on the pitch and thank you to Neil Harris, the board and the chairman for allowing me to come here and get back to myself.
“I feel like I am getting there slowly. On Saturday I had a few times where I felt I was doing what I would back in the day and I just want to do as much as I can to help this team, it shouldn’t be where it is, especially with the manager, the staff, the fans and the players, it should be fighting for play-offs if anything and I think we can still look for that, 16 or 17 left, if we win most of them who knows?!”
The play-offs aren’t a realistic aim but O’Brien’s certainly happier looking up than down.
“I say it to the boys, ‘don’t worry about what is below us’, let’s just keep focus on listening to the manager. Sometimes it isn’t tippy-tappy class football, sometimes it has to be horrible. We have a good base now and I feel like we are going in the right direction.”
Living closer to home is another plus for O’Brien, who said: “I am a 30 minute drive from where we train every day so I am living at home, with my son, my missus, my family, so i think that makes a big difference. It’s all smiles over this way!