Gillingham midfielder George Lapslie has warned his team-mates about the threat fellow promotion hopefuls Barrow will pose.
The Gills sit seventh in League 2, six points behind Barrow who sit third going into this weekend’s clash at Holker Street.
Barrow have gone 10 league games unbeaten, have won their last three home matches and haven’t conceded a goal on home soil since early October.
“It’s a very tough game, we have to be on it,” stressed Lapslie. “You can get sucked into thinking they just play long ball but they don’t.
“They make clever runs with their eights and they get themselves down to the byline well and get good numbers in the box when the ball’s coming in.
“It’s not a case of we’ve got to outbattle them as you’ve got to outbattle everyone you play against.
“They’ve got qualities as well so we have to respect them and outwork them, then hopefully we can get the ball down and show what we can do as well.
“They’re a good team and it’s always a tough game. They haven’t lost at home yet so it’s definitely tough to get a result. To get a result we have to be where we were against Charlton on Saturday.”
Gillingham have only won one of their last seven league games on the road.
But Lapslie insisted there are positive signs, particularly in their most recent reverse at Tranmere.
“I don’t think we’ve been playing that bad away from home, people might disagree, I just think the results haven’t gone our way,” explained Lapslie.
“If you look at the Tranmere game, anybody that’s watched it back, we pretty much battered them for the first half if we’re totally honest.
“Somehow, we’ve gone in 1-0 down, maybe we didn’t have enough shots but even when we came out second half I felt it was all us. They just had three attacks, scored three goals.
“I don’t think there’s too much we can say in terms of this is what it is, we need to put our finger on it. If we just keep playing the way we’re playing then the results will follow.”
Having worked under Clemence for just over a month, Lapslie has been impressed by the head coach’s style.
His approach is certainly more akin to a modern-day manager, who takes a keen interest in his players on and off the pitch.
“I’m really enjoying getting to know him and working under him to be honest,” added Lapslie.
“I feel that I’m getting a lot more chances, and open communication with him, he’s a really good guy and hopefully we can do something for him.
“The gaffer coming in is very much a person manager, he’s looking to manage the person before the footballer which is what you need really as a player, me in particular thrives under that.
“If as a person you’re in a good place then your football is also in a good place. I think that’s the way he is going about it.
“I don’t think every football club is going down that route, it’s the way this football club has decided to go at the minute.
“If you look at the top managers they all speak highly of their players and they manage the person before they manage the footballer.
“He’s doing that on a day-to-day basis. He speaks to everyone individually and is a great guy.
“He’s given me that belief in myself, that we’re good enough to get the ball down and outplay teams in this league. That’s one thing that he’s come in straight away and instilled confidence into me and the boys.”
Now Lapslie wants to deliver where it matters most and is keen to add to his goal tally having netted just once this term - at home to Morecambe in mid-September.
“I haven’t scored in a while so I’d love to get a goal,” he added.
“I feel that I’m getting chances now and as any forward player will tell you, you’re more worried when you’re not getting the chances than you are when you’re getting the chances and not putting them away.
“I know if I just keep getting myself in that position, that I will do, if we go away on Saturday and I miss one early on I will still be putting myself in that position trying to score. I’m not one of them that is going to hide from it, I’d rather face it head on and hopefully get a goal.”