After a run of five defeats in six games, a win on Saturday could take the Gills to within four points of the play-off spots. Ahead of the game, Gillingham midfielder Olly Lee tackled the press via Zoom. Here are five of his key quotes.
On returning to Gillingham
“It is really good to be back. It is my third time back, so I know my surroundings, but it has been really good and nice for the fans to have me back.
“It was a really quick thing – I was looking to come down south in the summer, and when the gaffer rang me it happened in a whirlwind, but I am delighted to be back. It was a decision that worked for all parties. I do not think I would have left for any other club to be honest.”
Lee signed for Gillingham on loan for the third time last week. Now 29 – he wants to settle down. He knows the area, club and fans, and, with it confirmed he will be leaving parent club Hearts in the summer, Gillingham fans will be hoping the move becomes permanent.
On the weekend’s win
“It was nice. The first half I enjoyed more than the majority of halves I have had in football this season to be honest. It seemed to click into place.
“I am a firm believer all good players can play together. They [Kyle Dempsey and Callum Slattery] are two good players to have behind me; they get me the ball and we made things happen. We seemed to complement each other.
“As starting blocks go it is a really good start, but it is just a start, so we have to push on and prove we are three of the better midfielders in the league.”
Gillingham defeated Accrington Stanley 1-0 on Saturday and Lee was at the centre of an impressive team performance. He and fellow new man Callum Slattery slotted nicely into midfield next to captain Kyle Dempsey and they dominated the middle of the park.
Lee will be hoping that continues.
On the management staff
“I know what they expect of the team and I know what they expect of myself. I do not need too much said to me because I know what I can bring to the side and I know what Steve [Evans] wants to see.
“He does not pull any punches, he tells it how it is, and that is the way I like to work anyway, so it is brilliant. If you play well, he will tell you, if you play bad, he will tell you. Footballers just want it straight forward and that is the best way to work for me.”
Passionate characters, the duo divide opinion amongst most rival fans, but Lee believes they can get the best out of him.
On his injury
“I am not feeling too bad. Hopefully I will be fine. I had a little knock from the weekend, but Gaz [Hemens, physio] and the team have been managing it well so hopefully we will be all OK.
“Fingers crossed everything will be OK. We will do a bit more work tomorrow and hopefully I will be alright.”
Lee picked up a knock at Accrington and is a doubt for the weekend. He, along with everyone else related to Gillingham, will hope he’s OK.
“Rochdale are a good side. We had some good games against them last season, I have looked at Gills’ results for the majority of the season. It was a great result for the team to beat them last month, we have seen their recent high-scoring ones so it should be an exciting game at the weekend.
“All games are tough, and we have got to go out and beat what is in front of us. We think we are one of the better sides and we have to go out and prove it.”
Rochdale’s table position tells little of their story. There are usually goals galore at both ends in their matches, and they play nice football under Brian Barry-Murphy.
Gillingham will have to be on their game to take anything from Saturday’s game