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Gillingham defender Robbie McKenzie can't explain why their away form is a complete opposite of impressive home record at Priestfield

Gillingham’s Robbie McKenzie doesn’t know why their away form is failing to match up to their record at Priestfield.

The Gills have won eight of their last nine games at home in League 2 but have picked up just one win in eight on their travels.

Robbie McKenzie - can't explain the stark contrast between Gillingham's form at home and away
Robbie McKenzie - can't explain the stark contrast between Gillingham's form at home and away

It’s left manager Neil Harris to describe his squad as “good at home but crap away” and McKenzie is unsure why there’s such a marked difference.

“I honestly don’t know,” he said. “We don’t prepare differently. Maybe it’s mentality, different players going into different games but I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on what’s the difference between home and away.

“We need better away form if we want to be pushing at the top end of the table next year so it’s something we need to work on.

“I feel that we’re always on the front foot at home. Attacking the Rainham End is brilliant, you hear the noise coming from there so it’s a different atmosphere playing at home.

“It always feels different attacking the Rainham End so hopefully we can get a few more results before the end of the season.

“Obviously the results haven’t gone our way away from home but I feel like we’re not that far off them. With a lot more work, we’re going to be competing with these top teams.”

McKenzie was critical of Gillingham’s first-half display - including his own - in the 2-1 defeat at Northampton on Easter Monday.

He felt trying to measure how far the Gills have progressed against one of the division’s top sides, though, was a hard comparison to make in the first half.

“We got ourselves back into it but the first half wasn’t good enough,” he said. “We came out in the second half and gave it a bit more of a go but overall I don’t think it was good enough.

“There were a few performances, including my own, which probably weren’t the best. We’ve got to look at it and work on it.

“We want to play against the teams that are pushing for promotion, that’s where we want to be, ultimately, so we’ve got to test ourselves against the best.

“The first-half performance we weren’t at it so it’s hard to compare. But in the second half there wasn’t a lot in the game. We’re not that far off it but we clearly are because we didn’t get the win.”

And on the winner from Northampton’s Will Hondermarck, McKenzie said: “There’s always something you can do to prevent a goal. Yes, it was a great strike but we’ll have to look at it and see what went wrong.

“That was probably one of the only attempts they had in the second half.”

It was a tough watch in the first half for a strong away support, with nearly 850 fans backing Gillingham.

“We appreciate their support so much, even coming out for the warm-up, the songs and chanting was brilliant,” reflected McKenzie.

“The fans have been absolutely brilliant. We can’t thank them enough for travelling up and down the country every weekend - it’s amazing.”

Despite the disappointment of losing on the road again, McKenzie has been part of a Gillingham squad that seem certain to be playing League 2 football once more next season.

That was hardly the case at the start of the year and McKenzie has appreciated the turnaround.

“Getting results from games has been a lot better, there’s a positivity around the club so it’s been a nice place to go in and play football,” he said.

“It was more of a mentality (thing, before Christmas) and you’ve got to keep going and going and hopefully things will go right, and they have come right.

“The signings we’ve brought in have been positive, they’ve helped lift the dressing room and they are great characters in there. It’s been brilliant to come into the club every day.”

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