Preview: Gillingham vs Bristol Rovers
MARTIN Allen is one person that doesn't usually need an introduction – but goalkepeer Sam Walker is on hand to provide some insight should any of the Bristol Rovers players be wondering what to expect at Priestfield tomorrow.
"Martin is certainly a very different character to a lot of other managers," Walker said. "I've been lucky enough to work for him during a short loan spell at Barnet.
"His methods are unique, but he's had a lot of success as a manager so they obviously work.
"I know what he is all about and I'm expecting him to field nothing less than a strong team."
This week's delicious £5 5 O'CLOCKTAIL is a refreshing Tequila Sunrise. Available everyday from our Bar for only £5 between 5pm & 7pm.
Terms: £5 cocktail applies to the cocktail of the week.
Contact: 0117 2448281
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Allen was famed for a fierce desire to win football matches when lining up for QPR and West Ham United during his playing days and that uncompromising competitive spirit has remained following his transition from player to manager. They don't call the Gillingham manager 'Mad Dog' for nothing.
"I don't know if I've ever been on the same touchline as Martin," said Rovers manager Mark McGhee when asked about Allen yesterday. "I know him and respect him, so I wouldn't anticipate any problems in the dugout.
"I certainly hope there won't be any because the last time I saw Martin he looked a bit bigger than me. I wouldn't relish the thought of getting involved in a punch-up with him!"
Let's hope not. Rovers will, however, have a fight on their hands if they are to gain their first win of the season against a side that has stormed to the top of League Two following an unbeaten five-game run over the early weeks of the campaign.
"They have a decent home record, but I haven't got a bad history of results down there with Millwall and Brighton over the years," said McGhee.
"It is a place I enjoy going to and I certainly have no fears ahead of the game. I'll be expecting exactly the same sort of attitude from the players."
Music to McGhee's ears, then, that Walker, pictured, is also of a mind that a Rovers side struggling for results have enough to turn the form book upside down at Priestfield.
While far from 'Mission Impossible', the likelihood is that Rovers will need to be somewhere close to the level they got to against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park at the end of last month when they were on the way to securing a victory before their hopes were dashed by an abandonment.
"We haven't had a great start, but we have the players capable of getting results anywhere in this league," Walker said.
"The biggest setback was the abandonment at Wycombe. We were in such a good position to go on and win that game and that has, arguably, had a bit of an effect for us.
"We're working hard towards getting that first win and I don't think it will be too long until we get that under our belts."
Walker, meanwhile, has yet to keep a clean sheet since arriving on loan from Chelsea, and he added: "I've come off after every game and felt that I haven't really had to make many saves.
"The goals have been flying in all over the place and that has been frustrating for me. Goalkeepers do everything we can to stop the ball going in the net, but there are times when you are beaten by a goal that you can't do much about.
"What you have to be as a goalkeeper is mentally strong and you have to forget about the ones that have gone in and just focus on keeping them out in the next game."