Crucial clash at Oxford tomorrow will decide League Two fate

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Andy Hessenthaler has urged his side not to let their promotion charge slip ahead of a crucial play-off showdown with Oxford United.

The Gills head in to tomorrow’s game knowing that a win will put them just one point behind the U’s who occupy the last playoff place, with three games left after that, including the grudge match against Championship hopefuls Swindon next weekend.

Hessenthaler has challenged his men to win all four games and put behind them the disappointment at missing out on the play-offs on goal difference last season.

“It’s make or break really at this stage, there is no point us sitting back,” he said. “We need to try and win all four games.

“Last season we ended up losing out on the last play-off place. It was a failure last year, I’m here to try and get the club back to the first division. I signed a three-year deal.”

Ahead of the trip to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow striker Danny Kedwell urged his teammates to make sure the home crowd play their part in an away victory.

“I played there a few years ago,” he said. “It’s a tough place to play. I know the crowd get on their backs quite easily, so we have got to make sure they do.

“It’s a massive game for us, all the boys are looking forward to it.

“If we don’t get a result then it could be over. We can get the points.” He said they were given words of encouragement from chairman Paul Scally who came into the dressing room after the Easter Monday defeat at home to Dagenham & Redbridge.

“He came in and said ‘you can still do this, you can do it for all the fans’.

Hessenthaler admitted the mood in the camp has been flat this week after the result as well as the news Danny Jackman, and Jack Payne could both be injured for tomorrow’s game.

“Obviously they are disappointed as a group that we have lost a couple more players,” he said. “We looked at the stats over the last couple of days, and of our squad we are going to struggle to get one player to reach 40 appearances.”

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