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Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Inside Line: Gillingham (06/08/13)

Stu Radnedge kicks off his opposition views with a take on Gillingham, after speaking to fan James Tong

Following hot on the heels of City's opener against Bradford City at the start of the Football League season on Saturday, we are facing another promoted side in the opening round of the Capital One Cup in Gillingham - surprise victors in last year’s coincidental equivalent at Ashton Gate.

Gillingham enjoyed a successful season last year, gaining promotion to League One as Champions. How has your pre-season preparation been going?
Our pre-season hasn't been wonderful. Three home games against higher local opposition (Palace, Millwall, Ipswich) resulted in three not too surprising defeats, but a full strength side losing 3-0 away at Conference side Woking at the weekend has lead to situation where the bubble has burst a little. 

Coupled with a sudden announcement of more stringent season ticket rules involving ID, photocards, colour coding for gender and a fee to lend it to your mate if you can't attend, all of a sudden the jovial atmosphere around the club has returned to a more typical pessimistic Gillingham!

What are the fans thoughts on Martin Allen? Has he achieved golden statue status for leading such a dominant campaign last year?
The jovial atmosphere alluded to above is mostly down to the work that Allen has done. Delivering the first trophy to the club in 49 years, giving the club it's first ever promotion on home turf, and bringing the fans closer to the team (via open training sessions, inviting fans to travel on the coach or give team talks, responding personally to fans' letters) has been a ray of sunshine after 15 years of Chairman Scally's somewhat interesting interpretation of public relations! That said, he has gotten rid of several somewhat popular midfielders - while he's getting the benefit of the doubt at the moment, a sustained run of bad form could see those grumblings getting louder.

Bristol City obviously lost the same fixture last year, albeit at our ground in the first round of the Capital One Cup, who should City fans be looking out for this time around?
Cody McDonald is the returning messiah, having had two successful spells here on loan (25 goals in the 2010/11 season, and four in seven games last year), he's back for good this time. It remains to be seen though whether he can pick up where he left off, or whether he'll join Chris Dickson and Bob Taylor in the category of "Gillingham strikers who have returned for a disappointing time after having previously shone at Priestfield".

Who do you think will be a key player for you in this match? Are there any signings made in the summer that you're looking forward to seeing?
Keep a watchful eye on midfielder Amine Linganzi. With an upbringing at St. Ettiene and Blackburn, he's set to be the key part in the midfield engine room, with the sort of vision and passing range that'll give Akinfenwa and McDonald plenty of chances.

Can I have a prediction for the match?
I'm going for a repeat of last year's score - 2-1 to the away side. That may be my Gillingham pessimism shining through though!

Even though this is a cup match what are your thoughts on your teams likelihood for a back-to-back promotion this year or cup success?
I'm not too fussed about a cup run, so "not embarassing ourselves" and maybe giving the fringe players/kids a run out is fine. Not that we have many fringe players spare! I doubt we'll achieve a back to back promotion - given the last time we were in this league we didn't win a single away game all season, I'd settle for breaking that duck! Wouldn't mind a few entertaining cup games though.

Bristol City face Gillingham on Tuesday evening at the Priestfield Stadium – Kick off is 7.45pm and they'll be looking to reverse the historical form which shows just five solitary wins in Kent from 27 meetings.

The Exiled Robin

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