Gillingham Preview v Barnsley

Steve Lovell and his Gillingham team head north this weekend, ready to tackle what will be one of their toughest tests this term, as they take on Barnsley.
It’s safe to say that Oakwell has not been a happy hunting ground for Gills over the years, losing on their last five visits.
Despite halting a mini run of straight defeats last week with the 1-1 draw with Coventry at Priestfield, the performance was far from a convincing one, with only poor finishing prevent Coventry from coming away with maximum points. Should Gills have aspirations of bringing a positive result back to Kent on Saturday, the performance must improve.
In terms of team news, Lovell has a number of fitness and injury concerns which will force his hand for Saturday’s fixture.
Mark Byrne and Regan Charles-Cook, both of whom have performed well to date this term, pulled up with hamstring problems last week, and are certain to miss the game. Combine these latest injuries with the hamstring strain sustained by Dean Parrett in the opening weeks of the campaign, and the squad suddenly looks light in the midfield area.
A return to full fitness for Josh Rees is timely, with the attacking midfielder in line to make his first appearance of the season, and competitive Gills debut after signing from Bromley during the summer.
Looking at a potential formation, and I feel like Lovell has to deviate from his preferred narrow diamond. The new injuries mean we’re short of options, and a diamond would without doubt get overrun given the personnel currently available.
For that reason, the logical and likely conclusion will be a change to three centre backs.
Predicted line-up:
GK – Tomas Holy
CB – Max Ehmer
CB – Gabriel Zakuani
CB – Alex Lacey
RWB – Luke O’Neill
LWB – Bradley Garmston
CM – Billy Bingham
CM – Callum Reilly
CM – Josh Parker
ST – Tom Eaves
ST – Elliott List
Focusing on the game itself, and I won’t kid myself into thinking this will be anything other than an incredibly difficult afternoon for Gillingham.
Defensively we’ve been making too many mistakes, and should that continue, Barnsley will have enough quality to capitalise and punish us, whereas Coventry lacked the cutting edge to do just that last week.
Prediction: Barnsley 2-1 Gillingham

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