Gary Mills urges his Gateshead side to 'go get' promotion

Gateshead manager Gary Mills has challenged his team to secure a play-off spot

Gateshead FC manager Gary Mills
Gateshead FC manager Gary Mills

Go and get it, Gateshead.

The Tynesiders’ promotion destiny is in their own hands, now that all four clubs currently occupying Skrill Premier play-off positions have played the same number of games, 41.

With five left each, the Heed travel to Hereford United today, fourth after a seven-game unbeaten run and five wins from their last six.

Though technically Lincoln City, in as low a spot as 16th, could still qualify for the end-of-season shoot-out, realistically the top eight to 10 (excluding champions-elect Luton Town) are fighting for a place in the crucial top five.

With a game in hand, Gateshead are two points above sixth-placed Alfreton Town and without that extra fixture, three points above Braintree Town, in seventh, who they visit on Tuesday.

So with a “fantastic, exciting” opportunity within sight, Gary Mills has implored his players to seize it.

“Yeah, it’s down to us now,” he said.

“There was always the scenario of us being in the play-off positions but other teams having games in hand. We’ve got ourselves in there on merit now, and we’ve got to stay in there.

“Going into the last five games, we must maintain the hard work we’ve put in and go and get what we’ve worked so hard for.

“I’ve told the players from day one that we were going to get in there, and we’ve got a great chance now. We’ve got three away games, two at home. Our away form’s been good, so that’s got to be maintained as well.

“So all I can say is that we’ve got a chance, a good chance.”

Mills added: “I set them the challenge that we had to win football matches.

“It’s like anything in life, if you want it badly enough people say you can go and get it, and it’s true. We want to stay in there now.

“You need to pick up points still, we know there’s still work to do and we’re in a good frame of mind.

“The players have trained superbly well this week, I can see it in the way that they train and, off the field, that they’re desperate to stay in there.

“So let’s go and get it.

“It’s a lovely time of year. The weather, although it’s not quite so nice up here, is starting to warm up. The sun was shining this morning, and I enjoy this time of year, particularly when you’re involved in the play-off chase.

“It’s fantastic, it’s exciting. It’s why we’re in the game, it’s certainly why I’m in the game.

“But I’m here to win, I’m here first and foremost to get Gateshead into the play-offs and from thereon to Wembley.

“So, we’ve got a great chance and we don’t want to blow it now. We have to keep believing, keep wanting, and I sense that they do.

“The big thing here is the togetherness, which took a little while to get right. I’m not just talking about the squad of players, I’m talking about the supporters, everybody connected with this football club.

“We’ve been together, we’ve worked hard together. I think that will get us in there.”

Though Craig Baxter and Colin Larkin should be available to Mills, he is without Jack Lester (groin) and James Brown (ankle).

The Bulls have, for now, staved off the threat of a high court winding-up order relating to a tax bill, and on Tuesday won 1-0 at Welling United.

And Mills said: “It’s a tough game, they’re fighting for their lives down at the bottom there.

“They’ve had a good win and the news that the money’s been paid to the taxman. They’re going to be full of themselves, it’s a big boost for them.

“But I love it, it’s a challenge.

“They’ve got to get points to stay in this division, we’ve got to get points to get out of it. Who wants it the most? It’s as simple as that for me.

“We know what we need, what we want.

“It just happens to be Hereford. You could be throwing another team at me that wanted to do well for different reasons, it just happens to be Hereford.

“As anyone who knows me, it’s not being arrogant, just because it’s Hereford, my thoughts are ‘So be it’. It could be anybody.

“This is about us, about what we do, what we’re good at, believing in what we want and going to get it.”

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