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Gillingham captain Max Ehmer believes the team is vastly improved from the one which were well beaten at Oxford United earlier this season

Max Ehmer didn’t hold back when facing the press the last time Gillingham played Oxford United.

“A shambles” and “nowhere near good enough” was how the German defender labelled the first half at the Kassam Stadium.

Gillingham captain Max Ehmer Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham captain Max Ehmer Picture: Ady Kerry

The Gills trailed 3-0 at the break and it could have been worse.

Back then, at the end of September, they were still adapting to a new style of play under boss Steve Evans and Ehmer admits it took some time.

They go into their reverse fixture with the Us this Saturday settled, confident and in a much better place to get something from the opposition.

The Gills skipper said: “We knew what we did wrong that day and how we should have played. We have definitely learned from it.

Manager Steve Evans with Max Ehmer after the recent win over MK Dons Picture: Ady Kerry
Manager Steve Evans with Max Ehmer after the recent win over MK Dons Picture: Ady Kerry

“When we played them previously we were in that transition period and it was tough.

We knew what we had to do but we weren’t 100% on it but we have been doing well recently.”

The Gills are seven unbeaten in the league and haven’t lost a home fixture in League 1 for over two months.

Ehmer says Oxford are “probably the best team” they have played so far this season but Gills’ own recent results have led the team to go into games fearing nobody.

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They have taken points on the road at high-flyers Fleetwood, Ipswich and Peterborough in recent weeks while pushing a fully-loaded Premier League West Ham close in the FA Cup third round.

Ehmer said: “It will be another good test for us but if we stick to the game-plan, like we have been doing recently, then we are confident of getting a result.

“We know with the players and the staff that we have got here, with the team morale and stuff like that, we are certainly good enough to be in those play-off positions.

“We are in touching distance to where we want to be and we could have had so many more points along the way.”

The form at home has certainly changed around from the last two seasons, where the Gills for the first time in their history picked up more league wins away than on their own soil.

“It’s not a place people want to come,” said the 27-year-old.

Max Ehmer in action against Oxford United last season Picture: Ady Kerry
Max Ehmer in action against Oxford United last season Picture: Ady Kerry

“We are a lot more relentless and ruthless in our play, teams can’t seem to get a minute’s rest, we are constantly on them.

“I think we are fit, I am not sure if we are much fitter than previously, but the training is a lot more high tempo now and it is down to our style of play also, we get the ball forward into areas and we overload it, we don’t let people have time or space on the ball.”

While Oxford have moved themselves into the status of League 1’s elite clubs, Ehmer believes they too deserve a lot of recognition.

Looking ahead to a match that he describes as “massive”, Ehmer added: “We have shown we are a top side at home, and even away of late although we haven’t got enough wins to show that.

“But we have held our own against the bigger names in League 1 and that first half on Saturday against Peterborough showed it.”

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