'Gills will survive'

ANDY Hessenthaler believes Gillingham will survive in Division One but warned they need to dispense with their "criminal" defending, writes Derek Davis.

ANDY Hessenthaler believes Gillingham will survive in Division One but warned they need to dispense with their "criminal" defending, writes Derek Davis.

The Gills player-manager praised his side's performance against Town but admitted they could not hold out against a fitter Blues side.

He said: "We played well in the first half but probably worked too hard, and in the second half we ran out of steam.

"When you are a goal up at half time you have to defend properly for 45 minutes and we didn't do that.


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"There was not much we could do about the first goal. It was a very clever free kick superbly executed. But the second goal was criminal defending on our part.

"When we were chasing the game at home you can't come back from that. Once you go 2-1 down the confidence drains, the fans get edgy and it is difficult to come back from that.

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"So, I'm disappointed because the first half performance was, without creating too much, one of the best efforts for the season, against a very good team."

The defeat, coupled with George Burley's Derby beating Preston 5-1, meant the Gills have dropped into the bottom three.

They face Wimbledon and Coventry City before Stoke – managed by former Gills boss Tony Pulis – on the final day.

Hessenthaler said: "On paper we have probably an easier run-in than the others down there, but when you are in the bottom three it makes it difficult.

"We will remain positive because we still have three games to get ourselves out of it. It is not nice, but you just have to get on with it."

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