Joe expects a hot reception

By Derek DavisChief Football WriterJOE Royle always gets a warm reception from Gillingham fans and expects another when Town travel to Priestfield tomorrow.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

JOE Royle always gets a warm reception from Gillingham fans and expects another when Town travel to Priestfield tomorrow.

Royle was the Manchester City manager when they came from behind in a dramatic late surge to beat the Gills in a play-off final at Wembley to win promotion to Division One.


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The Town boss has often said how much he dislikes the play-offs but insists he does not make the rules and will take promotion via Cardiff if they can, just as he did with City to deprive the Gills.

But he also believes they can finish top of the play-off pile and gain home advantage.

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He said: “We are in a decent run and we want to keep that going until the end of the season. It is still possible to finish third and if we win all our remaining games we have a good chance of that.”

Royle knows what to expect from the fans and from the team and is not expecting an easy ride.

But at the same time he is looking for more recent revenge after losing to the Kent side at Portman Road earlier this season.

He said: “I imagine I will get a unique welcome.”

He added: “Gillingham played very well last week and got a 3-0 victory when they needed to win.

“It is never an easy place to go to and they have beaten us here 4-3 when we were on a good run so they can't be taken lightly.”

With five wins in six games under his belt Royle is happy with the way his side is performing, and is unlikely to tinker much with the side which beat Sunderland on Monday.

But Richard Naylor's performance, first in defence and then attack in the second half to score the winner against Fulham reserves on Wednesday, has given him something of a selection headache.

Royle said: “Richard did very well and he is pressing but I would be daft to say there will be too many changes from Monday.

“Dean (Bowditch) has had a rest but I have not forgotten how well he did with his movement and the partnership he has struck up with Darren Bent.

“Martijn (Reuser) will think he was unlucky not to start against Sunderland after doing so well against Rotherham when he came on. So we have some nice problems.”

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