Gillingham’s start to the season sees them sitting pretty in second place. With two wins and a draw, as well as progressing in the Capital One Cup it is the sort of form Gills fans could barely dream of.
The thrashing of Sheffield United was followed by a draw in Burslem against Port Vale and finally Gillingham picked up three points at Bradford. What is perhaps even more impressive is that this feat has been managed wholly without Cody McDonald, top scorer for the last two seasons and a striking icon at Priestfield Stadium, and captain Doug Loft.
Is Gillingham’s start to the season promotion material?
Justin Edinburgh has done a fantastic job over the summer rebuilding the squad to fit his ethos of fit, young, hungry players who are determined to wear the Gillingham jersey and do the club proud. The likes of Emmanuel Osadebe, Adedeji Oshilaja and Jordan Houghton have already made a great impression on fans.
Great things are hoped for from this squad.
At the start of the season I blogged about the youth of the team and how a good start could prove infectious among the squad and this energy certainly appears to be manifesting itself in performances thus far.
Spearheaded by Bradley Dack – who has been phenomenal at the tip of the diamond and is surely destined for greater things – the Gills have been implementing a high-pressing game full of aggression and pace. Although we must be careful not to let this spill over into ill-discipline as it did perhaps at Vale Park with the six booking picked up, it is great to see a team willing to run around and force the opposition into mistakes.
Rewind 12 months and the difference is tangible. Under Peter Taylor we would sit back, allow teams to play around us and try to hit them on the break. It was painful to watch, bred disappointing results and earned Taylor the sack.
The last thing Edinburgh will want is over-confidence seeping into his players. Talk of promotion is premature and slightly ridiculous (the headline was meant to provoke) but keep this form up and ‘little old Gillingham’ may just force the so-called bigger teams in this division to sit up, take notice and applaud the talent at Edinburgh’s disposal within Priestfield.
A home match against Wigan Athletic awaits at the weekend. It will be my first encounter with the Latics since that famous day at Wembley more than fifteen years ago, and it is a chance for Gillingham to regain the top seat in League One with Coventry not playing until Monday.
One thing is for sure: there is a cohesion, a unity and momentum behind the boys in blue creating a feel-good factor not seen since the Championship winning year under Martin Allen. This is different though. We are competing and playing our best football in probably a decade or so.
Can we do a Yeovil? Yes. Will we do a Yeovil? It is far, far too early to say.