Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

30 Points to Drag Mills' Men into the Play-Offs; Tynesiders Boss Sets Ambitious Target for Side

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

30 Points to Drag Mills' Men into the Play-Offs; Tynesiders Boss Sets Ambitious Target for Side

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Brown

MASSIVE, massive March is coming, says Gary Mills. By its end, he wants Gateshead to be in contention for promotion.

For that, he has set his players - "every single one (of whom) was off their game" in defeat to Nuneaton Town, at the International Stadium, last week - a target of 30 more points by the end of the season.

The Tynesiders travel to third-bottom Dartford today 12th in Vanarama Premier, eight points below the play-off positions but with four games in hand on fifth-placed Forest Green Rovers.

Last year at this stage, the Heed had the same points as now, but stood fourth.

With 12 to go following a 2-0 defeat at Welling United, Mills then set a target of nine wins to finish in the top five. After eight, and four draws, they ended the season third.

Now he has called for more of the same.

Last Saturday's loss to Nuneaton and the previous week's FA Trophy exit at the hands of Wrexham followed a six-game unbeaten run, and Mills is eager to ensure the former does not "mask" the latter. But with the top three in the table seemingly "nailed on" and the Heed among seven clubs chasing two places for the end-of-season shoot-out, their manager believes 30 further points must be accrued.

"We've got a massive, massive March coming up at this football club, so I'm hoping that at the beginning of April we're still in a position to kick on and get ourselves into the play-offs," said Mills, who is without JJ O'Donnell (foot) and Phil Turnbull (toe).

"We possibly need the same again. Everybody else above us at the moment is in a similar position, apart from (FC) Halifax (Town), who have four more points.

"Teams are going to need to win nine games out of 12, out of 13. It's not easy. A couple above us need to win 10 out of 12. It's a tough ask. It's not just us who've got to do it, it's everybody. …

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