Gillingham will face four of the bottom five in March in what is a crucial month for the Kent club’s prospects of staying in League One.
The Gills are set to face fellow strugglers Oxford United, Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon and Rochdale with a trip to runaway leaders Luton Town also on the agenda as they look to secure the points they need to avoid the drop to League Two.
The next few weeks could go a long way to deciding Gillingham’s fate. They are currently five points above the bottom four and start the month with a tricky fixture at Fleetwood Town who still hold playoff aspirations under manager Joey Barton
Speaking to Kent Online ahead of the weekends trip to the North-West, manager Steve Lovell acknowledged the importance of the month ahead. He said ‘We have a massive March coming up, playing against teams around us and they are all six-pointers.’
He also stressed that he was keen to keep looking up the table rather than down it. ‘There are some big games coming up and with a good little run we could move up the league quite quickly.’
Lovell’s side picked up seven points in February to keep their distance from the dropzone and will go into the game against Joey Barton’s team in a confident frame of mind after a good win at Wycombe Wanderers last time out.
Lovell felt his side were well equipped to stay out of trouble after he managed to add a handful of recruits in January which has given his squad more depth. He said, ‘On Saturday we brought on players (from the bench) that went on and won the game for us. Regan Charles-Cook scored the goal, and I am pleased for him, he is back to his best, and Brandon Hanlan is always a handful.’
The Gills boss explained he was now having to make some difficult decision when naming his matchday squad but welcomed the increased competition for places and insisted he would need all his players in the coming weeks. “Everyone has a part to play,” he said. “Three didn’t get in the squad on Saturday, and it will be the same again.’
‘I will pick a squad that I think is capable of going to win a game and just because I leave people out doesn’t mean I think any less of them, it is just that this is what I feel we need to take for that game.’
Gillingham will face a Fleetwood side that won four out of five In February with their only defeat coming from the visit of Luton Town to Highbury. They are currently six points of the playoff positions and will be desperate for the three points to keep their outside chances of promotion alive.
Lovell’s side should have enough quality to beat the drop and could even end in comfortable mid-table if they can beat those teams around them this month.
The Gills were in a similar position last season and Lovell will no doubt draw on that experience to keep them up, however, a team that continually flirts with relegation will eventually come up short, and the team needs proper investment if they are to ever mount a challenge at the top end of the table.