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Ipswich Town 2 Gillingham 0: EFL Trophy match reaction from Gills assistant Paul Raynor


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Tuesday night’s defeat won’t be giving Gillingham’s management team sleepless nights.

The EFL Trophy match at Ipswich had no meaning to the coaching staff other than to give their fringe players valuable minutes on the pitch. In that regard it served a purpose and assistant boss Paul Raynor was pleased.

There were nine changes to the starting XI from the weekend league game and the main thing was that there were no reported injuries.

“It was a game to get through,” said Gills no.2 Raynor.

“We didn’t want any injuries, or anything silly, we want a full squad to choose from on Saturday and that is what we have got. Apart from the result we are pleased.

“We gave ourselves a good platform to build from in the first half and unfortunately we conceded a sloppy goal which gave Ipswich a lift, they came on a bit stronger and the game sort of fizzled out for us. They were deserved winners in the end.

“We have said all week the priority was always going to be Oxford United (in the league). We hope to do well in this competition but it was just about getting game time, as you could see with the team we put out.

“It was about minutes for players. We kept back the guys who have had a lot of minutes and we focus on Oxford.

“Once the game starts you want to win it but we are not too dispirited that we lost the game and if we beat Arsenal (in the final group stage fixture) then we will progress in the competition anyway.”

Gillingham lost the game 2-0. They were well in it first half, with Alex MacDonald having the best of the game’s chances but when Armando Dobra hit the roof of the net with a sweet strike, the hosts took charge.

Raynor said: “There were some good individual performances, we were pleased with them, but collectively we weren’t quite at it, we huffed and puffed without causing too many problems.

“The first half was 50-50, it could have gone either way but goals change games, they hit a fantastic finish, the first one, then we were a little sloppy on the second. It was all about no injuries then and let’s get focused for Saturday.”

There was concern over Matty Willock, who went off at the break, having only come back from a hamstring injury but Raynor said they were just being cautious.

He said: “With hamstring injuries you need to be really careful, I am told there is a 33% chance of re-injuring it if you push them so far, so we were always going to ere on the side of caution, particularly with his injury problems last year.

“He is desperate to play all the minutes that he can. We were cautious so he can be available for the weekend.”

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