JUSTIN MAY BE GILLS’ NEMESIS
NORTHAMPTON v GILLINGHAM Today. Kick-off: Noon
GILLINGHAM seek League One survival today – against the manager they sacked earlier this season!
The Kent club axed Justin Edinburgh in the New Year, and a mere ten days later the former Tottenham leftback took the reins at fellow League One side Northampton.
The Cobblers lie 16th and are safe from the threat of relegation, but Gillingham are still looking over their shoulders.
They were 17th when Edinburgh was given the elbow, but now find themselves 20th, just one point and one place above fourth-bottom Port Vale.
Had Vale lost at Walsall in midweek, they would have been relegated. But Chris Eagles’ goal in a 1-0 win ensured they live to fight another day and kept the Gills and Bury, in 19th, sweating.
It all makes for a pressure-cooker final day – and the fact the Gills take on their old boss adds extra spice.
Gillingham midfielder Josh Wright feels he owes Edinburgh and his assistant David Kerslake a debt of gratitude but says friendship will go out of the window at Sixfields.
The 27-year-old, named captain by Edinburgh, said: “I will always have a lot of time for Justin and David. They brought me in the pre-season before last. I signed a contract, became a regular and have had two very successful seasons. I have to thank them for that.
“It hurt me and others when they left, but the club made a decision. I think it’s great they got another job straightaway and they have a big future in the game, but Sunday is about Gilingham FC.
“I’m determined to beat them and I’m sure they want to beat us.” The former Scunthorpe, Millwall and Leyton Orient man has had an excellent season, highlighted by the fact he’s scooped Gillingham’s Player of the Year, Players’ Player and Away Fans’ awards.
He’s weighed in with a bumper 14 goals, including a much-publicised hattrick of penalties in a dramatic 3-2 win against Scunthorpe last month.
And he’s eager to take on the Cobblers. “In an ideal world we wouldn’t be playing for survival. We would be at the other end of the table, but it is what it is.
“There’s pressure. It’s going to be nervy and tense, but I’m one of those people who thrive off a bit of pressure – I can’t wait.
“We should be safe already, but the league table doesn’t lie and it’s up to us as a team to get a result.
“It’s still in our hands and I’m still very confident we will stay up.”
Wright, brother of television presenter Mark, admits today’s game could have a massive impact on the club, depending on how it goes.
“It’s not just a game of football, it means more than that,” added Wright, who has another year left on his contract.
“Livelihoods are at stake and we will be going there fighting and giving everything to help get to safety. ”
FRIENDS AND RIVALS: Josh Wright and, inset, Justin Edinburgh