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INTERVIEW | Phil Parkinson ahead of Gillingham clash

Phil Parkinson previews tomorrow's trip to Priestfield Stadium

23 February 2024


INTERVIEW | Phil Parkinson ahead of Gillingham clash

Phil Parkinson previews tomorrow's trip to Priestfield Stadium

23 February 2024

Phil Parkinson aims to make it four games unbeaten when the Red Dragons take on Gillingham tomorrow in Sky Bet League Two.

The Reds earnt a point in midweek at MK Dons to build on the back-to-back victories against Sutton United and Notts County.

When the two sides met at the SToK Cae Ras, Ollie Palmer’s first minute strike and Ben Tozer’s effort secured three points against the Gills.

Tomorrow’s hosts are searching for their first win in three and Parkinson believes it is set to be another competitive encounter.

He said: “There’s a lot of teams in the play-off mix, it’s a very tight division and Gillingham are obviously still got a very good chance.

“They’ve been playing 3-5-2 recently and got a good result against Stockport County on Tuesday and they beat Notts County.

“They started the season very well; they were top of the league after four games and they’ve got some good players.

“Like every game it will be competitive, the lads have recovered well from Tuesday and it’s another great chance for us which we are very excited about.”

The fixture at Priestfield Stadium will be the sixth so far this month, with recovery at the centre of the preparation.

Parkinson’s men have claimed seven points from five games and the squad has been utilised, seeing players seize the opportunity of a busy fixture schedule.

In what has been a relentless period for the Red Dragons, Parkinson explained the recovery process.

He said: “The lads who played Tuesday went to the swimming pool and as part of their recovery they use the cryotherapy machine the day before a game.

“At this stage of the season each game brings up a different kind of challenge tactically, but a lot of it is about giving the players the best chance of playing with the energy they’ve needed in recent weeks.

“We’ve got no fresh injury worries from Tuesday which is good and obviously we will be without Will Boyle who is suspended.

“We’ve had the chance to look at Gillingham as a team and the opportunity to look at our team and see who is ready to go again and we will pick the team accordingly.”

The Reds will be without George Evans and James Jones for tomorrow’s clash, with both out due to injury.

Evans was substituted late in the victory against Sutton United, and Jones was replaced in last weekend’s win against the Magpies.

Both midfielders have been instrumental so far this season, and Parkinson confirmed that they both will be re-scanned in the coming weeks.

He said: “They will both be re-scanned; James’ will be early next week, and George will be the week after.

“We will then get a better indication in the second scan of where they both are, but they certainly won’t be available this weekend.

One of the benefits his side have seen is that new signings Luke Bolton and Jack Marriott have both started.

Marriott, who arrived from Fleetwood Town on deadline day has bolstered the already attacking quartet that Parkinson had assembled.

All four of Paul Mullin, Steven Fletcher, Ollie Palmer and Sam Dalby have had an impact that season and Parkinson added that it is important to have a variety of options.

He said: “Strikers are so key to any team’s success and it’s important to have those options when games come thick and fast.

“The bench is very important. As a staff we have a plan as to what we are going to go when whether we are winning, drawing or losing.

“We’ll be looking to pick a strong team tomorrow, but with one eye on the bench to bring that freshness on if we need it.”


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