WHILE everyone is raving about Port Vale’s strike force little has been said about Gillingham’s impenetrable defence.
In the last two games the Gills have kept clean sheets and left keeper Stuart Nelson as a virtual spectator.
Both Southend and Bristol Rovers had spells in those games where they put the pressure on but when the Gills need to defend, they defend well.
An opposition team can have the ball all they want but what Gillingham seem to be able to do lately is stop the shots coming in and that’s only done through hard work and organisation.
New signing Leon Legge is the experienced and mobile defender that Martin Allen has been hunting for ever since Tom Flanagan’s loan period was cut short with injury.
Callum Davies has proved what a quality addition to the squad he has become this season but even he admits that, at his tender age, he is prone to mistakes. His time will come.
For now the combination at the back between Legge and Adam Barrett looks formidable.
The fantastic reception that Barrett got from the Southend fans - where he was once captain - shows what they think of him and at 33 he has plenty left in the tank.
He is a natural leader and an organiser and now Legge has come in and immediately shown everyone what he is about. In the two games, I’m not sure he’s been beaten in the air yet and he has put in some strong tackles, as well as posing a threat at set-pieces for the Gills.
And while the Gills boss has been keen to rotate his midfield and attack, he has understandably kept things solid at the back.
Keeper Nelson has played every minute of every league game and right-back Matt Fish - who would certainly be a player-of-the-year contender if the season ended now - has started every game so far. Only injury has stopped left-back Joe Martin of doing the same in the league.
It’s a defence that is second only to League 1 Swindon in having the best defensive record of the 92 English league teams - averaging 0.84 goals conceded per game.
So Lee Hughes, Tom Pope and co at Vale are going to need to be at their very best if they want to break open the Gills defence.
It will certainly be an intriguing battle, especially now that Hughes is at Vale.
There was little doubt that when he was freed from his contract at Notts County the Gills would be interested. Allen had worked with him before and a record of 66 goals in 146 games speaks for itself.
The Gills boss was in the office at 5.30am on Tuesday trying to get a deal on the table but to no avail.
Luckily for the Gills they already have some quality of their own upfront - without criminal records - and Deon Burton is showing this season what a quality signing he is.
The goal in Bristol was stunning but he doesn’t just score. For a veteran striker his work-rate is phenominal and he can often be seen helping out in defence.
So let’s not worry what Port Vale have to offer. There is quality aplenty in the Gills ranks.