Ahead of the game, Gills assistant manager Paul Raynor spoke to the press. Here are five of his key quotes.
On defeat last time out
“It was a sombre dressing room at full time because it was really frustrating. There were some excellent performances, particularly in the second half. We were so positive and created so many opportunities and how we did not put the ball in the net God only knows.
“It was one of those days. We were pleased with the performance and just one thing was missing, the most important thing; putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Gillingham lost 1-0 in their last league game against Plymouth Argyle, but controlled the majority of the game, most notably the second half.
They did everything but score. They may have lost, but Raynor wants to take the positives.
On turning form around
“We have to do the basics right. There has not been a lot wrong, but it has just been so inconsistent.
“We stand and say how important three points are to the play-off push but for whatever reason we sometimes do not get the result and we are back to midtable again. It is about putting a consistent run together, doing the basics right, and getting that run going.
“If we can string three or four positive results together then we will be sitting pretty. Getting the consistent run going has been the problem this season.”
Gillingham have lost four of their last five league games, but, prior to that, their form was flipped with four wins from five. And prior to that, they lost five in a row.
Raynor has hit the nail on the head – the Gills are incredibly inconsistent. Find some consistency, and who knows how far they could go?
On Josh Eccles
“He is going to be very talented player in the next few years. I know how highly thought of he is at Coventry and he has had enough game time that they can see something they can utilise something later this season.
“I am sure he has benefitted from the time with us and we certainly have with some good performances. We wish him all the best – he is a great kid – and I am sure he is going to play lots of games for Coventry.”
20-year-old midfielder Eccles has been recalled by Coventry City from his loan spell after notching 14 appearances for the Gills since he joined in September.
It is believed that the Sky Blues think they can utilise Eccles in their own squad after cutting his season-long stay at the Gills short – a testament to both Eccles and Gillingham’s development of him over his time in ME7.
He is one to keep an eye on.
On the loan players
“We are still speaking to their parent clubs to see what their thoughts are moving forward. They are anxious that they want them to get game time but we are mindful that we need to get points as well so we cannot guarantee everything. But we have been pleased with them and that dialogue will continue.”
Manager Steve Evans has said that decisions were to be made on Gillingham’s loan players this window. With Eccles returning to Coventry, Trae Coyle, Zech Medley (both Arsenal), Declan Drysdale (Coventry), Tom O’Connor (Southampton) and Scott Robertson (Celtic) remain, and we are still none the wiser as to who will remain at Gillingham for the rest of the season.
With only five loan players allowed in a match day squad, it is likely some will be moved on in order to make space for more to join.
“The challenge is the new manager going in. Jimmy has been there before and will know a lot of the guys and what buttons to push. He is a very knowledgeable guy; we have come across him many times over the years.
“We have looked at the squad and the calibre of players at his disposal and there is a potential for a good side there. We are taking nothing for granted – football is not played on paper.
“I am sure the new manager will get a response. He has been there before and was a fantastic player and is an experienced manager. They are in a bit of a rut with performances and results, but they are a wounded animal, and it is going to be a tough game.”
Burton are rock bottom of League One with just two wins from 22 games, and are in a fight to stay in the division. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has returned to the Pirelli Stadium for a second stint in charge, and his first game back in the dugout will be this Saturday.
Raynor knows it will be a challenge, but is also well aware that his team should get over the line.