After conceding six goals in two games Andy Hessenthaler snapped on Saturday with a verbal volley at his defenders.
Four avoidable goals against Wimbledon at the weekend led to him threatening to bring in the youngsters.
But now after making that threat will he go through with it?
The danger is that Hessenthaler could make a bad situation worse by bringing in untried youngsters and we’ve already seen it before.
Following the disaster that was the Dover FA Cup game last season, Hess hauled in Callum Davies to play against Crewe, in the following league match.
Just 28 minutes into his debut Davies saw red after Crewe’s Clayton Donaldson was tugged back by the young defender. Gills went onto lose 3-1.
Hessenthaler, who made his players watch the DVD of the Wimbledon game on Sunday morning, is now talking up the return from loan of Connor Essam to inject some youth into his back-line.
Essam has been playing for Dartford during the last month or so and will make his final appearance for the Blue Square Bet South side tonight (Tuesday) at Staines. He could now find himself in the starting line-up to face Accrington on Saturday instead of facing Thurrock for Tony Burman’s play-off hopefuls.
Connor has been with the Gills for some time and is now a second year pro. But in his 18 months of being among the first team he has not even made a substitute appearance.
Is it wise to bring him into an already nervy team at a place as unforgiving as Accrington?
But then when is a good time? He is clearly talented, hence the second year contract he was handed in the summer, and if he isn’t going to be given a chance then what’s the point?
He could be joined in the back four by Simon King, who before injury looked destined for bigger and better things than Gillingham, but has barely been seen in the last two years. Fitness could be a problem, but again, it could be a case of now or never for King.
No doubt young Davies will also be knocking on the manager’s door this week but if none of those players get a shout they may as well start looking elsewhere for football.
Hessenthaler is in a no-win situation now. If he drops Lawrence, Garry Richards or Joe Martin he may lose their respect. After all, until recently the defence were performing well. But if he ignores the others in his squad then they will be asking what more they need to do.
It’s going to be a pivotal moment of the season this weekend.
The automatic promotion places are already looking like a long shot and unless Hessenthaler can quickly establish a solid system at the back even the play-offs could slip from their grasp.
The Gills haven’t lost three league games in a row this season and the last place Hessenthaler will be wanting to go is Accrington, where 18 months ago his team conceded seven.
Hess said this week he was in the market for an "athletic" defender in the ilk of Nyron Nosworthy. But looking for a player and signing one are two completely different things.
Changes are inevitable at the weekend but it will be a brave move for Hess to tinker too much.
He is under pressure to get results, he knows the score, but he’ll need to show the fans and perhaps more importantly the chairman that he is taking assertive action to put things right.
The braver move for Hess, and arguably the sensible move, could be to stick with the same defence and give them a chance to prove the doubters wrong. Saturday’s team-sheet will certainly make interesting reading this weekend, whoever he chooses.
Picture: Barry Goodwin