Can Gillingham bounce back at Barnsley?

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We all knew it was coming but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Gillingham finally succumbed to their first defeat of the season away at an impressive Colchester, with Cody McDonald continuing his barren spell with a woeful penalty. But defeat will bring a test of bottle for Gillingham in their next game at Barnsley.

Colchester did look a good team. Marvin Sordell is a very shrewd signing by Tony Humes adding pace and power to their frontline. But Gillingham were under-par even if Luke Norris did add another deserved goal to his tally. This performance was even more disappointing given this match was one of the few local games and the Gills faithful brought up over a thousand fans from Kent.

This defeat now makes the game against Barnsley more important. If Gillingham want to show the league that they mean business then a point or three would demonstrate immense character from Justin Edinburgh’s team. After Barnsley, the majority of the upcoming games look winnable, although Chesterfield and Walsall away from home will provide stern tests. Bearing this in mind, a point would put the club back on track and hopefully signal another unbeaten run. It may even add a couple of hundred to the gate on Tuesday which represents the first of Gillingham’s #FloodlightFootball games against Fleetwood.

To do so, the Gills will need to improve on their Saturday performance.

Cody McDonald’s position must be under threat, and we have seen before that when he has been dropped he can come back better than before. He still looks like he is suffering from his pre-season injury, but one should never write him off. He will end up the clubs top scorer come May, of that I have no doubt. But Rory Donnelly and Ben Williamson may deserve a chance, and Williamson’s work rate may tempt Edinburgh before this tough away game.

I doubt Edinburgh will worry too much about the midfield: he will surely chalk the performance down to just one of those days. With Emanuel Osadebe, Aaron Morris and Jake Hessenthaler all competing with the four starters on Saturday, it is an area where he has real strength in depth.

In the back four, the only selection choice Edinburgh will have to make is between Brennan Dickenson and Bradley Garmston: the left-back position looks set to be highly contested this season. Dickenson has been a revelation this season and he should keep his place although Garmston will feel slightly unfortunate to miss out.

A word too on Jermaine McGlashan who missed out on the matchday squad against Colchester. I think that he is the one player who can make a difference in the last twenty minutes or so. Although he may often lack a final product, his sheer pace always has the potential to make something happen if given the time. His two minutes at Port Vale, and one minute against Wigan is almost insulting. With Garmston and Dickeson able to play in a more advanced role down the left, McGlashan would be a great option for later on in the game especially away from home if Gillingham are looking to play on the counter attack.

Against Barnsley I would like to see the Gills line up as follows:

Nelson; Dickenson, Ehmer, Egan, Jackson; Wright; Loft, Houghton; Dack; Norris, Williamson

With McDonald and McGlashan bringing pace and penetration from the bench and Morris to bring stability if we are leading, I think that Gillingham are more than capable of getting a point.

If not, it isn’t a disaster and there is no need to worry just yet. I don’t think anybody would have believed you if you would’ve put Gillingham where they are at the minute, and blips will happen with a young squad. So get behind the Gills, and let’s get some more points on the board.

Promotion material? Saturday will go some way to answering that question if Gillingham bounce back at Oakwell.