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The Shouting Men column: Gillingham defender Barry Fuller on playing against your former club, how to beat Sunderland and life under Steve Evans

It was disappointing to lose our unbeaten run against AFC Wimbledon – but we’re not dwelling on it.

We feel like we can match anyone at home – our home form’s been brilliant – but Saturday wasn’t at the standard we’ve set ourselves over the last few months and we got punished.

John Akinde battles in vain as Gills' 15-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of AFC Wimbledon Picture: Ady Kerry
John Akinde battles in vain as Gills' 15-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of AFC Wimbledon Picture: Ady Kerry

It’s hard to put your finger on why. It might just have been a bad day at the office.

They’re fighting for their lives and needed the three points more than us in terms of survival in the league.

It was a scrappy game all round and it wasn’t to be for us.

We got punished at the end when we were down to 10 men but credit to them – they got what they deserved.

Joe Pigott and Callum Reilly, two players who played here, got the goals. People leave clubs in different circumstances.

Good terms, bad terms, it doesn’t matter, you always want to perform against your old club.

That’s how it should be, whoever you’re playing for, and I think you get that extra buzz when you’re playing a former club.

People will say the run was going to end at some stage but it’s a game we felt we should have won if we’d performed.

That’s gone, we know there’s another big game at Sunderland on Saturday.

Barry Fuller looks to turn outside Sunderland's Laurens De Bock earlier this season. The sides clash again on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry
Barry Fuller looks to turn outside Sunderland's Laurens De Bock earlier this season. The sides clash again on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry

We’re still in with a shout of the play-offs and a lot of the teams at the top are playing each other over the coming weeks.

I’m looking forward to playing Sunderland. We’re going to the Stadium of Light where there’s probably going to be 40,000 fans.

We go there with no pressure, people expect them to win, but we’ve been written off before in games and come away with something.

When the fixture list comes out and you’ve got teams like Sunderland and Ipswich, you look for those away fixtures because you always want to play in front of those big crowds and cause upsets and that’s what hopefully Saturday will be.

I’m pretty sure it will be a great atmosphere and hopefully we can silence their fans.

I don’t think there’s much between the teams.

We’ve played them three times this season and there hasn’t been much between us.

They’ll want revenge after we knocked them out of the FA Cup but we know what we’ve got to do.

We’ve got to go there and work hard, be resilient and hopefully we can take our chances.

Gills defender Barry Fuller says right-back is his favoured role Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills defender Barry Fuller says right-back is his favoured role Picture: Ady Kerry

I’m playing right-back again now and I’m just working hard, trying to play the best I can for the team and keep the shirt.

It’s a competitive squad and everyone wants to play.

There’s boys chomping at the bit and you’ve got to play well week in, week out to keep your shirt.

Right-back is obviously a bit more natural and I’ve played 95% of my career there.

It’s always nice to be there but wherever the manger selects you, if you’re in that starting XI, you don’t care where you play.

You just give it your all but it’s always nice to be somewhere you feel comfortable.

No matter who the manager is, you have to give yourself the best opportunity to be selected.

I give 110%, I wear my heart on my sleeve and you know what you’re going to get from me most weeks.

It’s good with the gaffer. He’s got a different approach to some managers I’ve had but he likes to get the opinion sometimes of the senior players. He’s demanding and he makes sure everyone’s on their toes on a daily basis so when it comes to match days everyone knows what they’re expected to do.

Barry Fuller says training is intense under Gills boss Steve Evans Picture: Ady Kerry
Barry Fuller says training is intense under Gills boss Steve Evans Picture: Ady Kerry

Training is very intense but it’s not like the gaffer goes crazy.

Obviously he does monitor it and if there’s a day you’ve worked hard, the next day might be a little bit of a down-day.

They do look after you, as well as it being intense, but they want everyone to train with the intensity of a match day so when it comes to that, we’re all prepared.

We’ll go to the 90th minute and obviously those training methods are the reason behind that.

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