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Gillingham v Fleetwood Town - League 1 match preview, Saturday 3pm at Priestfield Stadium

By KentOnline reporter

Team news

No surprise that Gillingham manager Steve Lovell names an unchanged team for the visit of Fleetwood in League 1.

Lovell was impressed by his side's second-half demolition of struggling Bradford last weekend.

Gillingham manager Steve Lovell. Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham manager Steve Lovell. Picture: Ady Kerry

That means teenager Darren Oldaker starts only his third league match for the club.

Lovell has also named the same seven substitutes as last week.

Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, O'Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Oldaker, Bingham, Byrne, Charles-Cook, Eaves, Hanlan. Subs: Hadler, Lacey, Parrett, List, Nasseri, Mbo, Ogilvie.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Holt, Eastham, Burns, Evans, Morgan, Hunter, R Wallace, Husband, Sheron. Subs: P Jones, Dempsey, Bolger, Long, Madden, G Jones, Biggins.

Preview

Gillingham’s second half performance against Bradford last weekend showed what they are capable of but now they need must sustain it.

Mid-table Fleetwood are the visitors to Priestfield this Saturday and the Gills will be confident of building on last week's success.

Boss Steve Lovell had a handful of players returning from injury against Bradford and all are expected to be fit again for Fleetwood's visit.

Form;

Gillingham (WLDLWD): Bradford (h) 4-0, Plymouth (a) 1-3, Doncaster (a) 3-3, Southend (h) 0-2, Portsmouth (a) 2-0, Shrewsbury (a) 2-2.

Fleetwood (WLLWWD): Blackpool (h) 3-2, Peterborough (a) 0-1, Portsmouth (a) 0-1, Shrewsbury (h) 2-1, Doncaster (a) 4-0, Wycombe (h) 1-1.

Head to head;

Gills wins: 3 Draws: 2 Fleetwood wins: 5

Last meeting at Priestfield;

Gillingham 2 Fleetwood 1

Tom Eaves scored the winner from the penalty spot the last time Fleetwood were at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones
Tom Eaves scored the winner from the penalty spot the last time Fleetwood were at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham came from behind to beat Fleetwood when the sides met on a bitterly cold January day last season.

Striker Tom Eaves was the hero, scoring a stoppage-time penalty to make it four league wins in a row for the Gills.

The visitors led at the break through Paddy Madden but an own goal early in the second half levelled the scores before Eaves struck, after Callum Reilly had been fouled in the area.

It proved to be the end of an unbeaten run for the Gills, stretching seven games after the win at Priestfield, having started with a 2-0 win at Fleetwood before Christmas.

Last time out;

Gillingham 4 Bradford City 0

Regan Charles-Cook celebrates scoring the opening goal against Bradford Picture: Ady Kerry
Regan Charles-Cook celebrates scoring the opening goal against Bradford Picture: Ady Kerry

Gillingham rode their luck in the first half at Priestfield but came on strong in the second to claim victory over Bradford.

The visitors wasted some great opportunities in the opening half, including an open goal miss for Eoin Doyle, and the Gills made them pay.

Regan Charles-Cook put the Gills infront shortly after the restart and Tom Eaves bounced back from a penalty miss to score twice.

Eaves’ double, which took his season tally to nine goals, came inbetween a strike by impressive substitute Elliott List.

Reaction: Boss Steve Lovell hails massive second 45 minutes

A selection of Ady Kerry's pictures from Gills' win over Bradford

Team news;

Brandon Hanlan and Regan Charles-Cook were back in the thick of it last weekend Picture: Ady Kerry
Brandon Hanlan and Regan Charles-Cook were back in the thick of it last weekend Picture: Ady Kerry

There were no fresh injuries following Gills' win over Bradford.

Boss Steve Lovell brought Regan Charles-Cook, Brandon Hanlan and Billy Bingham back into the starting line-up and all have come through unscathed.

Dean Parrett is also back from injury and was due to play in a midweek friendly.

"It is a matter of getting the players up to speed now," said the manager.

"The ones who played Saturday, you could see they were working their way into the game, they had to build their confidence that they had overcome their injuries, expect for Brandon, who started off like he hadn’t been out. Regan and Billy played their way in and got stronger as they went on."

Callum Reilly is out injured and Lovell doesn't want to see him back until he's 100% fit. The manager believes Reilly's form has been suffering because of constant niggles.

One to watch - Ched Evans;

Ched Evans (5112129)
Ched Evans (5112129)

A decade ago Welshman Evans commanded a fee of £3m when he moved from Manchester City to Sheffield United.

Much has happened since then, including time in jail for an offence he was eventually cleared of following a retrial.

He has featured for both Chesterfield and former club Sheffield United in a bid to get his career back on track and joined Fleetwood in the summer on loan.

Evans is Fleetwood’s joint top scorer, with six for the season, along with three assists.

Paddy Madden, struggling with a hamstring injury, also has six goals and boss Joey Barton believes there is no better pairing in the division, saying: “For me they are as good a partnership as any in the division.”

Evans wasn’t on target last weekend, in a 3-2 win over Blackpool, but Barton appreciated his contribution, saying: “He was outstanding and his link up play was superb. His little header in the build-up helped Paddy get his goal.”

From the opposition;

Fleetwood are managed by former Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR player Joey Barton
Fleetwood are managed by former Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR player Joey Barton

Fleetwood claimed a memorable win last time out.

They beat in-form Blackpool 3-2 - a first ever win over their local rivals.

Striker Paddy Madden scored Fleetwood’s crucial third goal, a win that got the changing room buzzing said the striker.

“All the boys, gaffer and staff are buzzing,” he said.

“We’re all happy to get three points on the board and we go again.”

The win came off the back of successive 1-0 away defeats, at Peterborough and Portsmouth.

Boss Joey Barton said: “It had been a tough week for the group after two narrow defeats against first and second in the table. It was disappointing. If we are serious about doing something we need to pick up points against those teams.

“Blackpool were eleven unbeaten and we understood what we needed to do. We showed them what a force we can be.”

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