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Preview: Gillingham take on Blackpool in their final League 1 match of the season

Gillingham are heading to the seaside – but caretaker manager Mark Patterson insists they won’t be on the beach.

The Gills have their League 1 status secured but still have one game left to play against Blackpool on Saturday.

Patterson said: “We are not going to take a team up there just to run around and have a kickabout.

Caretaker manager Mark Patterson with coach Ian Cox Picture: Ady Kerry
Caretaker manager Mark Patterson with coach Ian Cox Picture: Ady Kerry

“We’ll be prepared properly, as if we need to win to do something, because we owe it to the fans, owe it to everyone connected to the club and the players themselves.

“They are professional. They want to finish the season on a high and we try our best.

“We have had some good performances on the road and as much as playing at home is good for the fans, the away fans travel in numbers and spend a lot of money.

“Hopefully we can go up there and put on a performance which they will enjoy and be rewarded for all their efforts – their travelling up and down the country – and the expenses they’ve laid out this season.”

The Gills players were given extra time off this week, returning to training today (Thursday) following defeat to Charlton last weekend.

Patterson, taking charge again following Steve Lovell’s sacking last week, said: “I think it is an easier week for them because we haven’t got the stress of needing to win on Saturday. It can be a bit more relaxed for them this week.

“I have given them a few days off. We’ve had a long, hard season and they’ve really had a go, they’ve worked hard and it was nice to be able to do that.

“You come in and train on Monday and Tuesday for what reason? They don’t really need to get fit because they are as fit as they are going to be.

“You listen to the physio and club staff in that department and they say a rest is as good as anything at this stage of the season.

“We’ll be training on Thursday and Friday, travel up on Saturday and play the game.”

Graham Burke and Billy Bingham are fit and fighting to get back into the squad for the last game, while fellow midfielder Callum Reilly is also pushing for a late return. Reilly was due back in training today (Thursday).

For the Gills, history isn’t on their side at Blackpool. They are without a win there in the last 12 visits.

“Charlton hadn’t won here for 39 years when they beat us,” Patterson said.

“They did that on Saturday and records are there to be broken, aren’t they?”

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