Date: 31st August 2007 at 1:21am
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The Gills host newly-promoted Walsall as they look to finally end their losing start to the season.

Pressure is mounting on manager Ronnie Jepson after the Gills started the season with four poor performances in four disappointing defeats.

The Gills’ home form has kept them afloat in the past two seasons, but a vast improvement from their last home showing against Tranmere must be shown if they are to have any chance of beating Walsall.

The Saddlers, League Two champions last season, are also without a win this campaign and have just one point so far, from an opening day 1-1 draw with Carlisle.

So both teams are looking for that elusive first win, and if the Gills fail to get it against the Saddlers, the alarm bells will surely be ringing.

Walsall, incidentally, were the last opponents the Gills faced under Jepson’s predecessor Neale Cooper, and the Gills manager – who has insisted he is not feeling any pressure – will be hoping that it’s not his last game in charge.

Either way, come 4.50pm on Saturday, we should have a clear view of where this season is headed… And, hopefully, the only way is up from here.

Pre-Match Quotes:

Gills manager Ronnie Jepson told the club’s official website: ‘They are all big, crucial games. We are looking forward to it and hopefully we can get three points on the board. Walsall are a strong outfit and they had an excellent first 45 minutes against Swansea last week. They had Ian Roper, the centre-half, sent-off and that put a different slant on the game.

‘It will be a tough game. They are buoyant, new to the league and there is no easy game in the league.

‘Supporters will always say it is a game that we should win, you’ll never stop that. Our home record is good and hopefully we can get back on track. We are four games in so anything can happen.

‘I have never been one for making predictions. If other people make them, that is down to them.’

Gillingham Team News:

The Gills’ options for the clash could be severely restricted, with eight players possibly missing out.

Efe Sodje and Duncan Jupp are the only definite absentees, as Sodje completes a three-match ban for his red card at Watford while Jupp is still struggling with a hamstring injury.

But he could be joined on the sidelines by Gary Mulligan and Simon King – who both missed the defeat at Luton, where David Graham and Aaron Brown were added to the injury list.

Nicky Southall and Barry Cogan have also sat out training during the week, so the likes of Sean Clohessy, Marvin Hamilton, Tom Bryant, Craig Stone, Luis Cumbers and Andy Pugh could all find themselves in contention.

Player to watch: Delroy Facey

With Graham and Mulligan both injured, Facey is the only fit striker at Jepson’s disposal and he will be desperate to break his Gills duck at Priestfield.

Walsall Team News:

The Saddlers are without defender Ian Roper, who is suspended after being sent off in the 3-1 defeat to Swansea last weekend.

They also have a doubt over experienced striker Tommy Mooney, but Martin Butler is fit after a virus.

Player to watch: Martin Butler

Opened his account for the season last weekend despite not being fully fit and the man once transferred from Cambridge to Reading for £750,000 will be hoping to find the target again.

Match Facts & Stats

There have been 100 meetings between the two clubs in all competitions, with the Gills having the edge with 44 wins to Walsall’s 40, and there have been 16 draws.

The two teams last met in the 2005/06 season when the Saddlers won both games, 2-0 at the Bescot Stadium in November, and 1-0 in the final home game in April.

The Gills’ last win over the Saddlers came in April 2004 when two goals from Patrick Agyemang and one from Danny Spiller secured a 3-0 win – and it proved to be a vital one as the following month the Gills avoided relegation by just one goal, with the Saddlers relegated despite winning their last game 3-2 against Rotherham.

Next Up For The Gills:

Southend (A),
League One,
Roots Hall,
Saturday September 8,