Sports Mole previews Saturday’s League Two clash between Gillingham and Salford City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Gillingham play host to Salford City on Saturday afternoon looking for the win that may move them into the League Two playoff places.
At a time when the home side occupy 10th position in the standings, Salford are four points adrift in 15th spot.
Despite a strong start to the season, it has been all change at Gillingham of late, Stephen Clemence becoming the new head coach in place of Neil Harris.
While just one win has been posted in three games, some context is required, with the solitary success coming in the FA Cup away at Hereford.
That was followed by a 1-0 reverse at home to Fulham Under-21s in the EFL Trophy before they made the daunting trip to meet Wrexham in North Wales.
Conceding a first-minute goal was never going to aid their cause, yet positives may be taken from only losing 2-0 to their free-scoring hosts.
Nevertheless, Clemence is in charge of a squad that has lost six times in eight outings, a run which needs to change if they are to remain in close proximity to the playoffs.
From Salford’s perspective, the demand is another assault on promotion and securing a place in the top seven is regarded as their minimum target.
As it stands, though, the North-West outfit are six points adrift of that position, a five-game losing streak earlier in the season severely hampering their efforts.
On a plus note, 14 points have been collected from their last eight games, their only defeats during that time being against Wrexham and Mansfield Town.
Neil Wood will recognise that an upturn in results is required, something which will not be easy against Gillingham, MK Dons and leaders Stockport County in their next three matches.
Gillingham League Two form:
Gillingham form (all competitions):
Salford City League Two form:
Salford City form (all competitions):
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Despite the defeat at Wrexham, Clemence may be prepared to stick with the majority of his Gillingham XI from that fixture.
Tom Nichols is most likely to be recalled to the starting lineup, potentially out on the left ahead of Jayden Clarke.
George Lapslie is also an option in midfield if Clemence wishes to freshen up his central trio.
Meanwhile, Wood must decide whether to rotate some of his players after they played 120 minutes against Peterborough United in their FA Cup replay.
A lack of alternative defensive and midfield options make dictate otherwise, but Kelly N’Mai and Conor McAleny are options in the final third.
Gillingham possible starting lineup:
Turner; Alexander, Masterson, Ogie, Malone; Coleman, Jefferies; Mahoney, Williams, Nichols; Bonne
Salford City possible starting lineup:
Cairns; Shephard, Tilt, Garbutt; Ingram, Mallan, Watt, John; McAleny, Lund; Smith
We say: Gillingham 1-2 Salford City
With Gillingham having lost their way in the league in recent weeks, Salford will sense an opportunity to catapult themselves back into contention. While we expect a fiercely-fought contest, the visitors could edge this contest, taking advantage of their hosts’ lack of confidence.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.