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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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12 March 2024 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

“We’ve got an opportunity to really do something”

Anticipation is building ahead of Tuesday night’s clash

12 March 2024

Johnnie Jackson’s squad are champing at the bit as we look to force our way into the play-off places at home to Gillingham tonight.

A win at the Cherry Red Records Stadium this evening could see us leapfrog our visitors from Kent and into the last position, with eight games to play.

“On the back of a win on Saturday, the boys bounced through the door on Monday morning,” said Johnnie after yesterday’s final training session in New Malden. “Especially when we’ve got another game so soon, everyone wants to be a part of it.”

You can listen to everything Johnnie had to say immediately after training below.

Having completed the double for this season over Notts County on Saturday, Johnnie is keen that we avenge November’s single goal defeat at Priestfield - as he set the scene ahead of the visit of Gillingham.

Johnnie said: “With the position that we’ve put ourselves in and the situation that we find ourselves with less than two months to go of the normal season - we’ve got an opportunity to really do something.

“It’s great that we’re in and amongst it and there’s excitement and positivity around the place. Obviously now we want to deliver on that.

“It should be a cracking atmosphere. We’re going to have a big crowd. Our supporters always get behind us and when the opposition bring a fair load it adds to the occasion. It’s not too far for them, they’ve got a good following. That should add to the atmosphere on a really good night under the lights.”

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Johnnie will know all about his counterpart in the away technical area, as he was with Gills Head Coach Stephen Clemence when they were players at Tottenham.

“Steve has done really well since he went in there in November,” said Johnnie. “They’ve had a real upturn in form.

“They’re sitting in that last play-off place at the moment. It was a close game with them, away from home. We were on the wrong end of it and I felt we should have got more from it that night.

“We’ll be looking to put that right, knowing that we’re up against tough opposition. They’re in good form and they’ve got good players. We can’t come off of it from Saturday - that needs to be our level now in these remaining games, because they’re huge for us.”

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Johnnie is delighted that defender Kofi Balmer (hamstring) and forward Omar Bugiel (groin) have managed to overcome injury scares and play key roles in recent performances. Centre-back pairing Ryan Johnson (ankle) and Joe Lewis (knee) also took part in full training.

“Everyone is available,” said Johnnie. “It was a really good session. After a win, everyone is feeling good, and they all want to play in the next game! It’s a balancing act though and about getting it right.

“It was a blow when we lost Omar before last Tuesday’s draw with Grimsby, but he recovered really quickly, and we were able to go with him at the weekend.

It’s the same with Kofi, when he missed a couple of games, but I’ve been really pleased with how he’s slotted back in. He got through the ninety minutes and dug in, as they all did to a man at Notts County.

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“That’s what we’re going to need - people who are willing to put their bodies on the line. We’ve got to bite down and get though these games and everyone has got to play a part.

“Ryan and Joe had a full session with the boys. They’ve been out for a while though, so it’s going to take them a little while to get back up to speed.

“We’ve kept three successive clean sheets and it’s a credit to the boys that have done that, but they’ll see that those two are back at it now. Pretty soon I’m going to have a selection headache when it comes to that area of the pitch!”

You can watch full coverage of the game, with commentary from our Radio WDON team, by purchasing a video match pass from the link below:

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Photos: Pro Sports Images and Kent Pro Images.

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