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The Shouting Men column: Midfielder Stuart O'Keefe on keeping Gillingham's unbeaten run going, his relationship with the fans and returning to the scoresheet

We’re 10 games unbeaten now and I think Gillingham have been crying out for a run like this for a while.

It just shows what kind of group we’ve got here, from the staff all the way down to the players.

Stuart O'Keefe opens the scoring against Shrewsbury last Wednesday Picture: Ady Kerry
Stuart O'Keefe opens the scoring against Shrewsbury last Wednesday Picture: Ady Kerry

To go unbeaten at any level is a fair feat and to do it in League 1, when the games come so thick and fast, is fantastic.

We haven’t got the biggest squad but everyone’s chipping in and training hard and the ones who aren’t playing are pushing the starters.

When you’re on a run like this, it might make it a little bit easier because you’ve nothing to fear and every week you know what you are, you know how to do your job, what you’re going to get and what you’ve got to do to remain unbeaten.

It makes your mind clear that if you want to keep this run going, we have to be at the same levels, if not better.

It keeps you on your toes a bit because we don’t want this run to end.

It’s nearly a quarter of a season unbeaten, which is massive.

For Gillingham it’s absolutely huge and we’re looking to keep that going and have a push for the play-offs.

I signed for the club knowing all about the manager and how successful he’s been over the years and, obviously, I’ve played against many of his teams.

I knew what I was getting into in that aspect but with regards to what we could achieve, it was hard to say because there was a big turnover in playing staff. It took us time to settle and find our identity, our shape and formation, and how we wanted to play.

We’ve got that now and I don’t see any reason why we can’t kick on.

Obviously we’ve played everyone, there’s no one to be frightened of.

We’re not going to say we’re definitely getting promoted, we’ve just got to keep doing what we do game by game and see where we end up.

We’ve got a three-game week coming up and with so many teams in and around that middle area, it’s imperative we keep this run going if we do want to achieve anything.

The gaffer knows what it takes to be successful at this level.

The players have grown into their roles and their tasks and the Gills fans are seeing the benefits of that.

Talking of the fans, they’ve been great with me. They’ve taken to me really well.

The Gills faithful have taken to Stuart O'Keefe Picture: Ady Kerry
The Gills faithful have taken to Stuart O'Keefe Picture: Ady Kerry

I enjoy home games and away from home they’ve been brilliant as well.

It makes it a lot easier when you’re stepping out on to the field and the fans are right behind you, winning every header and every tackle.

I managed to score in our win against Shrewsbury last Wednesday.

I hadn’t scored in a while so it was nice to get back up and running again and hopefully I can get a few more before the end of the season.

I scored a penalty in the away game against Shrewsbury earlier this season and it’s funny how you sometimes have clubs you always seem to score against.

For me, it used to be Charlton. I scored against them in pre-season, I scored against them for Portsmouth and, I think, MK Dons, and even as a kid at Ipswich academy it always seemed to be Charlton.

It was nice to have a weekend off and recharge the batteries after a busy Christmas and New Year period.

I went up to see my mum and dad in Ipswich on Saturday and spent the rest of the time with my partner at home.

It’s good to chill out but come 3pm on a Saturday everyone wants to be playing.

We’ve had a break but we’re a fit group anyway.

The demands in training are high and we train at such intensity, and we’re seeing the benefits.

In the last couple of months we haven’t had much rotation but the boys are dealing with it where we are such a fit group. When you’re confident, when you’re winning or scoring, you just want to play every week.

You don’t feel tired like you do when you’re losing and things aren’t coming off for you.

It’s a bit like being a kid, when you just want to play football all the time.

You go into the next game potentially getting another win or scoring, and you want that feeling to continue.

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