Gillingham FC Meeting the opposition.
Despite winning two of their last three, picking up seven points in total, Tranmere made hard work of Crawley Town and Hartlepool United at Prenton Park. Thus, just how will they do against another side around the bottom of the table but this time away from home?
Gillingham are this weekend’s opponents, Neil Harris’ side had a tricky start to the season but have picked up since January as new Owner Brad Galinson immediately got on the side of supporters by having a great January Transfer Window.
Amongst the recruits, Crawley Town Striker Tom Nichols and he will be the one to watch this Saturday with Micky Mellon’s Men struggling to find the net.
Ahead of the game, I spoke to The Mail’s Sports Reporter Lewis Browning.
Gillingham were relegated from League One last season and are currently placed 20th in League Two, how would you describe the campaign so far?
The campaign has been in two separate sections. Before our takeover at Christmas, it was the most awful, gut wrenching, upsetting season I’ve ever been a part of. Our points and adoring record stood for themselves. But we’ve now been rejuvenated, had some good results and are safe. Relieving, I’d say.
In the January window players such as Crawley Town Striker Tom Nichols, Mansfield Town Striker Tom Hawkins and Mansfield Midfielder George Lapslie were recruited. It has been described as the league’s best transfer window, by some. How have they settled in at The Gills?
Everyone has settled pretty well. Whoever we brought in was going to be better than what we had. Nichols and Hawkins are probably my two favourite signings but Dieng and Lapslie have done their parts too, as well as Ethan Coleman, Conor Masterson and Glenn Morris. Everyone has. It was a great transfer window and we badly needed it.
Gillingham’s manager is former Cardiff City boss Neil Harris, he was appointed last year. What are your thoughts on him, his playing style and his relationship with fans?
It’s not been easy. He did everything but keep us up last year and was so unfortunate. This year he wasn’t the main problem at the start, but he wasn’t to blame. I wanted him gone because I was willing to do anything to try and change what we were experiencing. But he’s a new man since the new players and owners have come in, and I think he’s the man to take us forward. His playing style is a bit defensive and direct, but his track record speaks for itself, and his relationship with fans is improving each week.
Owner Brad Galinson is relatively new. What are your thoughts on him, his relationship with fans and his plans for the club?
He’s our saviour. As simple as that. He and his wife Shannon have transformed our club and picked it up from near death. We are thankful for the money, the passion, the ideas and the communication. I truly believe the only way is up and that’s where he’s looking.
How important was it to find that new Owner?
It was essential, absolutely essential. The club was dying under a horrible previous owner, and it’s different now. The fans are so thankful.
One man to watch out for on Saturday afternoon is new signing Nichols, he has struck gold three times and assisted three too – in ten games. How would you describe his playing style and the impact he has had on the team?
He’s had a huge impact. He was the first signing of the Galinson era and maybe the most important because he brings creativity and goals. He’s a forward but a creative forward, sometimes dropping off, and likes to run with the ball and play with the ball at feet. He’s been a really good signing.
Where will the key battles be played out at The Priestfield Stadium?
We’ve been really solid at the back recently and Tranmere haven’t exactly been free-flowing so I think whether they can break us down will be one to keep an eye on. We’ve not been free-scoring either, failing to score in our last three, so I suppose the age-old attack versus defence for both sides will be key.
What is your score prediction? The last time the two clubs met was in mid August, at Prenton Park, as Rovers won 3-0. The goalscorers that day were Elliott Nevitt, Ethan Bristow and Josh Dacres-Cogley.
I think we’ll win, maybe 1-0. We’re a completely different side now and we’re at home, which is big for us. Due a result too, I think.
What are your thoughts on The Whites? Micky Mellon’s side have picked up seven points from their last three games but have been consistently inconsistent this season.
Disappointing, to be honest. Like you say, the side have been inconsistent and many expected them to be a lot higher than they are in the table. A play-off finish isn’t out of the question but looks unlikely. I suppose your season has a danger of petering out into nothing, like ours, for a worse reason.
Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium.
Tranmere have won three of their last games here, but the last time Rovers came here they were defeated 2-0 in 2014.