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INTERVIEW: We dug in deep

Defender Tom Parkes on the Gillingham away draw

5 December 2017

Centre back Tom Parkes played a huge part in bringing League One outfit Gillingham back up to Brunton Park on Saturday when his first-half surge out of the United half culminated in a penalty, and the equaliser from the trusted left foot of fellow defender Danny Grainger.

We spoke to him about the game shortly after full time on Saturday.

“I thought we were on top for most of the first half,” he said. “We played some great football, but they came out and put pressure on us in the second half. We dug in deep and I think it was a fair result, to be honest.”

Having been involved in the challenge which brought the set piece for the first goal, he told us: “I didn’t think it was a free kick to start with! It was one of those things and it was a good strike from the lad in the end.

“I was just pleased that I was able to get down the other end and get us the penalty. With the formation we played it gave me the freedom to get forward. I enjoy being able to do that whenever I can and luckily enough I got a nice little one-two with Reggie when I did it this time.

“It was a good touch from him to give it back to me and the lad took me down. It was then a great penalty from Danny [Grainger] and we played some good football after that.”

On his return to the side, he commented: “There are some good, experienced players in there and Clint [Hill] and Lids [Gary Liddle] kept me right. They kept me on my toes and I think everyone stuck to their job.

“We made it hard for Gillingham and I think we sometimes enjoy playing against the teams above us. The job isn’t done yet, but everyone knows Brunton Park is a hard place to come when we’re on our game.

“Hopefully it’ll be us who stay in the competition, but we have to make sure we do it properly and get the result. If we do manage that then any Premier League team will do as far as I’m concerned.”

Having missed out on a number of starts since his return from suspension, he admitted that it had been a frustrating period on a personal level.

“It’s been hard, I won’t lie to you,” he said. “I served my suspension and Clint and Gary played well together through that period. I can’t argue with that.

“On my behalf I’ve just got to keep working hard and make sure I take my opportunity when it comes. We’re all professionals and this is just one of those things. You have to deal with it and all I can do is keep doing the work and hopefully try to get my position back.

“I was nervous for the first couple of minutes on Saturday but as the game went on I grew into it. I started to enjoy it more and I’m pleased with the way I played. Being in the back three gave me licence to move around the pitch and I thought we all played the formation really well.

“We’re a hard team to beat at the moment and confidence is high. The Christmas period is one of the toughest times in any season, but you can pick up a lot of points. We just have to make sure we stay in focus and try to get as many as we possibly can.”

His final word was for the fans who made the long trip over the Dartford Crossing and into Kent.

“It’s brilliant how many came down and it just shows what the fans do for us,” he said. 

"Hopefully they’re happy with what they’ve seen and, speaking for the boys, it’s great to know you’ve got people following you like this. 

“Fair play to them because I thought they were fantastic.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Tom Parkes on iFollow United now.   

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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