The five key quotes from Ryan Jackson's pre-Sunderland press conference
Jackson has been a key cog in Gillingham's machine this season | Photo by Charlotte Tattersall - Getty Images

Gillingham will travel to Sunderland on Saturday with the aim of making it three wins from four in EFL League One.

The Gills have had a positive run of form of late, taking seven points from the last nine available to them. Ahead of the game, defender Ryan Jackson tackled the press via Zoom. Here are five of his key quotes.

On Tuesday

“Everyone was buzzing. It was a good result – we started off well, pressed quite high and took our chances. 

“We know what we are capable of – it is about trying to stay consistent, and if we can keep that level of performance and build from that, then we will be good. 

“We have our good days and our bad days, but, on our day, we can beat anyone to be honest.”

Gillingham defeated Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday, putting in what was perhaps their most impressive performance of the season.

Jackson will now be hoping his side can kick on and push towards the play-off spots.

On the new signings

“They have lifted the squad. They have brought a lot of quality to the squad – Robbie [Cundy] has allowed Connor [Ogilvie] to go to his favoured position at left back, so I think we look a solid outfit at the back, and with Olly [Lee], he looks like he can pop up with a few goals, so that helps. 

“Slats [Callum Slattery] looks very good in midfield – he can break down the play, put his foot on it and keep it as well. Sometimes you need that safety need and to trust him on the ball. 

“He has a good pedigree and has come from a good club. He gets on the ball well and keeps us ticking over.”

After losing five games from six, Gillingham have taken seven points from three games since Olly Lee – who scored a brace against Crewe – and Callum Slattery joined the fold.

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The duo have certainly made a difference, and centre back Robbie Cundy put in an impressive performance on debut in the week.

All the signs point in the right direction right now for the Gills.

On Robbie Cundy

“He looks like the real deal. It was really good with him playing on my side as well; we were talking well together. We worked a good partnership, and I am looking forward to playing alongside him a lot more.

“I played against him in the Papa John’s Trophy, but I do not remember too much. If you keep John Akinde and Trae Coyle quiet, then you are definitely doing something right! He is quite aggressive in the air and good with his feet, so it is a good balance.”

Cundy only signed for Gillingham on Monday but impressed on his debut on Tuesday at centre back next to Jack Tucker. He allowed Connor Ogilvie to move back to his favoured left back position and was solid in the middle, mopping up any danger and dominating in the air.

Gillingham were on the lookout for a god centre half for a while. Albeit only on loan, they may have found one here.

On a play-off charge

“If we have a good result, I am happy, but it is one game at a time. It was a good result on Tuesday – hopefully we can build on that step by step, but the main thing is trying to stay consistent

“Anything can happen. We have to take it one game at a time and stay consistent. We are mindful of our position, but we have to deal with the oppositions that are put in front of us and keep a level of performance, and hopefully the results come with it.

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“It has taken us some time, but with the latest additions we are looking more solid and more threatening. We need to continue and build on that.”

Gillingham are still seven points off the play-off spots in League One but have shown they can compete on a number of occasions. A decent run of form is now required if they want to seriously challenge.

On Sunderland

“We are confident. We have got a game plan; we will try and stick to that and work hard as a team and you just never know. In football things can fall your way.

“We know they have good players, are a massive club, and you have to give them their respect. But we treat every opposition the same – we have our game plan, and we will try and execute it the best we can, and hopefully that will be enough on the day.

“They are going to have their threats; they are a good team. They will start fast but we know they are going to come at us. The gaffer does not let us get complacent.”

Sunderland are by far the biggest club in League One and they will provide a stern test for Gillingham on Saturday. The game will give the Gills a good indication of where they are at after a positive January – but they will have to be at their very best to get anything from the game.

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