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HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Gillingham

We take a closer look at this weekend's Emirates FA Cup round two opponents

1 December 2017

It’s back to FA Cup action for United this weekend as the Blues make the long trip to Gillingham.

A first-round victory over League One side Oldham set up the trip to the Gills for Keith Curle’s men and, with a potential glamour tie on the horizon in the third round, United will be keen to progress.

But standing in their way will be another side from the division above in Gillingham, who themselves will be keen to put together a cup run.

We put Steve Lovell’s men under the spotlight ahead of our visit to Priestfield:

Shaky Start

It’s been a tough start to the campaign for Gillingham, who had to wait until the middle of September to pick up their first league win of the season with the Gills having only won three times since.

But recent form has been much improved, and the Priestfield outfit enter this FA Cup tie off the back of a strong run of form which has seen them go seven games unbeaten in all competitions. Four of those games have also ended in wins.

Yet that impressive form hasn’t been enough to fully pull Gillingham away from trouble, with Lovell’s side still within the League One relegation zone - although they are level on points with the sides immediately above the drop zone.

That recent form will be enough to give Lovell confidence that his side can pull away, and another victory in the FA Cup will buoy them even further.

FA Cup Record

While United were knocking out Oldham, Gillingham were tackling non-league opposition in Leyton Orient.

And they progressed as goals from Josh Parker and Tom Eaves sealed a 2-1 win over the ten-man O’s.

That first round victory was already an improvement on last season when the Gills crashed out at the first hurdle following defeat to Brackley.

The non-league outfit held Gillingham to a 2-2 draw at Priestfield before triumphing 4-3 on their own patch.

What Does History Tell Us?

The two sides have met fairly regularly throughout history and it’s Gillingham who have the marginally better record.

Of the 48 times the pair have faced off, the Gills have claimed victory on 21 occasions with United triumphant in 17 games - 10 meetings have ended as draws.

The last time the two sides faced off was in Sky Bet League One back in 2013/14, when Gillingham ran out 2-1 winners at Brunton Park.

Carlisle’s last win over Gillingham came back in February 2010 as a brace from Ian Harte sealed victory for the Blues.

Over Twenty Years

It’s been over twenty years since United have claimed victory at Priestfield - a stat Keith Curle will be hoping to change this weekend.

The Blues’ last triumph at Gillingham came in the 1994/95 season when a goal from Dean Walling secured victory on New Years’ Eve.

Since then, United have picked up two draws and three defeats from their trips south.

Ones to Watch

+ Max Ehmer - A familiar face to United fans having spent time on loan at Brunton Park, the centre back joined Gillingham on a permanent basis in 2015. The powerful defender made his breakthrough at QPR and went on to play for Preston, Stevenage and Yeovil during several loan spells away from Loftus Road. But it was at Prreistfield where the German found his home, and Ehmer has gone on to make nearing 150 appearances for the Gills.

+ Josh Parker - Capable of playing as a wing-back, winger or a striker, the lively Parker started his career at Queen's Park Rangers and recently spent time with Red Star Belgrade in the Serbian SuperLiga. He initially joined Gillingham on trial at the start of 2017 before earning a longer-term deal. Used mainly up top this season, Parker has caused plenty of problems for oppositions defences and has four goals to his name already.

+ Lee Martin - An experienced winger who is currently the Gills’ captain, ex-Manchester United man Martin moved to Priestfield in 2016. He missed most of last season through injury but returned in February and put in some dynamic attacking displays on the left hand side. A regular this season, Martin has already netted twice while laying on plenty of other chances for his team mates.


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