Gillingham will travel to Lancashire on Tuesday evening to take on an in-form Fleetwood Town side in League One action.
The Gills are in good form themselves – they have collected seven points from the last nine available to them, and are now just five points away from the play-offs.
Before the game, we spoke to Gillingham assistant manager Paul Raynor, who spoke of the confidence within the club at the moment.
Gillingham have struggled for consistency all season, and that has, in truth, been their achilles heel.
Manager Steve Evans, however, told VAVEL two weeks ago that a serious meeting had been held to address the issue, and since then the Gills have picked up two wins and a draw from three games.
“We are getting some consistency in the performances” said Raynor. “The results do not always come, but it is the consistency and the intensity we are providing now.
“We are scoring goals, trying to look a lot more solid and stop teams from playing. We are really delighted but we will keep our feet on the ground.”
It is clear to see the difference the meeting has made. Raynor is now hoping the good form can continue to put his team in good stead for the run in.
“We said to the boys all week that we need to put an unbeaten run together” he added. “We need that consistency, and it seems to be coming now. Let’s carry on and see where it takes us – we are enjoying the way we are playing at the moment.”
Looking at Fleetwood
Fleetwood may be 15th in the League One table, but they themselves are starting to hit form, and are also now looking up rather than down.
They parted ways with manager Joey Barton recently and appointed the experienced Simon Grayson, and it seems the club are reaping the rewards.
“We are full of confidence” said Raynor. “Bring it on.”
“But we have to make sure we do not get carried away, keep doing the things that are getting us results. Let the guys enjoy it, but we will keep their feet on the ground and get ready for a tough trip to Fleetwood.
“We will go there in confidence, but we are well aware Fleetwood are a very good side. Simon Grayson has gone in there and will do an extremely good job, so we have to be wary of the threat they pose, but the guys have worked extremely hard.”
Form of the front man
One man than has been key to Gillingham’s recent form is forward Vadaine Oliver. The former Northampton Town man has scored four goals in three games and has now found the net 12 times this season, and Raynor is just one of many people to be singing his praises.
“We have known about Vadaine for many years” he said.
81' 3-1 WHAT A FINISH FROM BIG V!!! #Gills— Gillingham FC (@TheGillsFC) March 6, 2021
“We have come up against him and we always identified him as a real problem. He had a fantastic season with Northampton last year, we kept him on the radar and we knew he had more to offer.”
Oliver has won more headers than any other player in the league this season, but it is his goals that are drawing attention to him now. A superb solo effort followed a poacher’s finish in the Gills’ 3-1 win against Ipswich Town at the weekend, and Raynor insists he is key to the Gills’ successes.
LETS GOOOOOOOO 💙🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/OKJTihmxqb— Vadaine Oliver19 (@VadaineOliver) March 6, 2021
“He is not just a big target man” said the Gills assistant. “He wins his headers, but he is quick for a big man and has a turn of pace.
“We have worked very hard on his finishing. He drives us crackers on the training ground every day wanting to do more and that is a credit to him. He is chipping in with some really valuable goals amongst the physical focal point he gives us too.”