The inside track on Gillingham
21 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Our 'inside track' feature continues as we turn the spotlight on our EFL Cup opponents Gillingham with Luke Cawdell, Gills reporter for KM Media.
Luke Cawdell, KM Media
What has been the reaction of the club and fans to this draw?
Luke: "It’s the kind of draw most people were hoping for. Justin Edinburgh admitted his house was rocking as the two teams were pulled out together in the draw and I’m sure the majority of fans felt the same. Gillingham supporters have to endure plenty of long away trips (they face a midweek trek to Chesterfield next Tuesday night) and so the chance to play a fairly local Premier League team was a welcome change from some of the places we get to visit on a regular basis. Fans quickly snapped up the 3,000 odd tickets available, these were sold out a week before the game. It’s certainly a game that has got everyone excited."
How is our old friend Justin Edinburgh approaching this game? What has he said to the local media in Kent?
Luke: "He is certainly looking forward to it and spoke to me about the pride he will be feeling when he takes his Gillingham team to White Hart Lane. Tottenham obviously holds a special place in his heart and it had always been an ambition of his, once he got into management, to take a team back to the place where he enjoyed 10 years of his footballing career. He knows getting a result will be a tough ask but it won’t stop him and the team from trying. Few would have given the Gills much hope of beating Watford in the last round, trailing 1-0 and missing a penalty, but they did it."
Below: Gillingham players celebrate at Watford
Our fans will remember Jamie O’Hara and Paul Konchesky, but who should we keep an eye out for in the Gillingham squad?
Luke: "Jamie might not make it, unfortunately, due to injury but Konch has been an ever-present at left-back. Gillingham’s in-demand player has been Bradley Dack - last season’s League One Player of the Year. He’s got an Italian-look about him with the long hair but he’s been compared to Dele Alli. He’s a goalscoring midfielder and is just getting back to full fitness following an injury. He popped up with the winner at Watford and always seems to get himself in the right place at the right time. QPR loan striker Jay-Emmanuel Thomas is a former Arsenal player and would love nothing more than showing what he can do on a big stage. Another one worth keeping an eye on is energetic midfielder Emmanuel Osadebe. A former Tottenham foundation college pupil and a player who will just keep running and running, described by the Gills manager as the fittest player he has known."
What is Gillingham’s form like going into this tie?
Luke: "It’s not been great to be honest. Since beating Watford in the last round they have won just one of their last five. They came back from 2-0 down to beat Shrewsbury 3-2 but since then they have lost to League Two Luton in the EFL Trophy and taken just a point from their last three league games, despite taking the lead in all of them. Keeping hold of an advantage is something they need to work on but in contrast to that they have done pretty well when coming from behind. League form will be irrelevant on Wednesday night, however. Gillingham haven’t really got anything to lose."
Below: Gillingham key man Bradley Dack
How do you think Gillingham will line-up on Wednesday night? Any players missing?
Luke: "As mentioned, O’Hara is likely to be absent. Gillingham have had an awful time of it with injuries. Versatile player Aaron Morris suffered an ACL injury soon after signing a new deal and summer signing Lee Martin suffered a broken and dislocated ankle in a pre-season game at Leyton Orient. Both are likely to miss the entire season. Another new signing Scott Wagstaff has only just returned after suffering an Achilles injury eight minutes into his first showing in a game at Billericay. Bournemouth loan striker Joe Quigley lasted just three games before being sent back after suffering a potential season-ending injury and we’re yet to see left-back Bradley Garmston after dislocating a kneecap before the season started. Justin has been tinkering of late, playing 4-3-2-1 at the weekend, but what he’s got up his sleeve for Wednesday night is anyone’s guess. He isn’t blessed with a massive squad so don’t expect many changes. Gillingham are still awaiting a first clean sheet this season - what a time to do it!"