Neil Harris looks to the future after Gills move closer to safety with home win
Neil Harris challenged his Gillingham players to ‘really attack’ their remaining games and show they are worthy of a future at the club after all but securing their Sky Bet League Two status with a 1-0 win over Doncaster.
Tom Nichols’ spectacular volley on the stroke of half-time proved enough to settle the outcome at Priestfield and take the hosts nine points clear of the bottom two with six games to play.
Gills rode their luck at times – Ben Nelson’s header crashing off the underside of the bar when the game was still goalless – but Harris was delighted with the outcome after taking another step towards safety.
“What a three points,” he said. “I look at it really simply: clean sheet, we scored a brilliant goal, and we got the three points.
“The performance was OK today but the result was the most important thing.
“We’re in a really healthy position. I’m looking forward to the next six games – we can really attack them.
“I’m going to put them into an isolated window to see what we can achieve. They’ll also help me and the club learn what we need to do in the summer.
“I’m judging players continually, making assessments over time and seeing their traits.”
Buoyed by winning seven of their previous eight home matches, Gillingham twice came close in the opening 10 minutes.
An unmarked Nichols failed to hit the target six yards out, then Charlie Seaman’s defensive header landed on the roof of his own net.
However, Nichols made amends with his fine finish soon afterwards – the latest sign of the difference his January arrival has made to the previously goal-shy Gills.
“In tight games like this that’s exactly what you need,” Harris added.
“Technically, it was a fantastic finish. Tom was great in training this week so I’m glad he got his reward. At the start of the season we lost a lot of games like this.”
Doncaster have now lost seven of their last 10 games but boss Danny Schofield remained upbeat about his side’s display.
“The result is disappointing, yet there are a lot of aspects that I’m really pleased with,” he said.
“I tried to be positive with the players at half-time because, aside from the first 10 minutes, the performance was good.
“We adapted the game plan in the week to try and help us be competitive in certain areas and we were unfortunate not to come away with anything.
“We need to keep on giving players the messages that allow them to show off their capabilities.
“We had good moments in the game, we just needed to convert them. We know we’ve got to win games, but we will look to take the positives.”
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