The five key quotes from Alex MacDonald's pre-Sunderland press conference
MacDonald knows where Gillingham need to improve to turn results around

Gillingham will face Sunderland at Priestfield Stadium this Saturday with the aim of avoiding a fifth defeat in a row.

Losses against MK Dons, Portsmouth, Fleetwood Town and Ipswich Town have seen the Gills’ form spiral out of control, and those involved with the club will be hoping to fix said poor form sooner rather than later.

Ahead of the game, Gillingham midfielder Alex MacDonald spoke to the press. Here are five of his key quotes.

On the poor form

"Overall, we are coming away happy with performances but not taking our chances. That is the main concern for us at the minute – we are creating chances, we are getting into good areas, we look solid, and our main gripe is not taking our chances."

Gillingham may have lost four games in a row without scoring, but they really have been desperately unlucky. They have created chances aplenty, but literally just not taken them.

With the likes of John Akinde, Vadaine Oliver and Dominic Samuel up top – players that all know where the net it – the Gills’ fortunes are likely to change sooner rather than later.

On being an experienced head in a young side

"As long as we keep drilling home to the lads and the young players that we keep working hard and going the way we are going, things will turn. The experience in there is good experience and it is for us to help and guide these young players because there are some there with unbelievable ability."

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Gillingham have a very young squad this year, as has been mentioned regularly before. With youth comes energy and enthusiasm, but also naivety and, well, inexperience. The experience in the camp – 30-year-old MacDonald included – will need to pull together and provide the younger players with guidance through the tough times.

On the club’s injuries

"The injury front is a hard one to take. I have had a couple of long-term injuries and they can be tough mentally and physically. Coming in, watching the lads train getting stuck in the gym doing rehab and with people like Stu [Stuart O'Keefe] it is tough for us to take as a team. But you cannot dwell on it and the best way to deal with it is to put in the performances.

Gillingham have suffered massively with injuries this season. Jacob Mellis and Stuart O’Keefe have both been ruled out for the season, with Jack Bonham, Ryan Jackson and Tom O’Connor also on the treatment table and John Akinde and Vadaine Oliver not fully fit.

With a thin squad anyway, Gillingham’s resources really have been stretched so far this season. But there is nothing that can be done, and they must get on with work on the pitch.

On taking his chance

"I want to get into the team and stay in the team. It has been a long seven or eight games watching the boys and I always feel like I have got something to offer. I am in there now and am desperate to keep my shirt."

MacDonald has made just a handful of starts since joining Gillingham from Mansfield in the summer, and naturally he would have wanted more action, particularly moving away from home.

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With injuries, he now has his chance. He impressed going on early against Fleetwood for the injured Tom O’Connor in midweek, and again on Tuesday against Ipswich. He is expected to start again against Sunderland on Saturday, and will want to put in another impressive showing.

On working under Steve Evans

"I have been with the manager and Rayns [Paul Raynor] long enough to know that if you keep working hard and keep giving everything in training and when you are selected to go on the pitch then it will turn, I will get a chance and then it is up to me to keep the shirt. They are no different to how I have had them before."

Gillingham manager Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor are notorious figures in the football league. Known for their passionate antics on the touchline, many have strong opinions on the duo.

MacDonald played for Evans and Raynor at Mansfield Town and, as he states, knows the management duo inside out, and they him. This will benefit MacDonald in terms of him providing what they demand and getting more minutes on the pitch.

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