Neil Harris reckons Saturday’s game at Gillingham was worthy of a watch for anyone who doubts the quality of League 2.
The Gills manager – full of praise for his team’s weekend performance – has been playing down expectations since the summer as he knew there were plenty of other top teams to challenge his men this season. Saturday’s opponents Mansfield Town are certainly one of them.
The game at Priestfield finished one apiece, and there was plenty of attacking play on display, in a game that kept fans on the edge of their seats right until the end.
Harris said: “The crowd would have really enjoyed that game, the Mansfield fans that travelled would have enjoyed it and gone home saying ‘Gillingham are a good side’ and that is a good point on the road for them.
“If anyone doubts the quality of the level they should watch that game, two teams that try to play in the right way, that can mix it, can play forward and run forward and can pass the ball as well.
“Mansfield are two and a half years in working to get to that level of performance, we have transfer windows infront of us to get to that, that’s where we are trying to get to but that is the challenge for us this year at the level.
“Stockport won again (on Saturday) and will keep winning and we’ve been there (to Edgeley Park) and won.
“I said, let the league settle, let’s have a look at it after 12 games, we are now at 10 and we have seen another really strong side and we need to put in those levels of performances to challenge in the top seven.
“I have been trying to manage expectation and reality, within the fanbase and football club since the start of the season.
“When you’re winning games it is quite tough to balance that, but everyone is now understanding that we’re not a group that is going to run away with the division, we’re not a team that will dominate games for 90 minutes because the league is that good this year. Everyone is starting to respect the level.
“I played in it for two years and I managed in League 1 for four or five years and this is as good as any League 1 that I saw, that is how good the level is, these points are really important, home or away, really, really important.
“I am sure (Mansfield manager) Nigel Clough will have got back on the coach thrilled to bits with a point on the road. For us it is now about backing it up on Tuesday night at Crewe.”