New goalscorers vital for Gills revival

Last updated : 30 October 2004 By Headley
Johnson: scoring return?
Only Darius Henderson (1 goal vs Plymouth) has registered a league goal so far. Of the rest, Mamady Sidibe (1 goal vs Northampton, Carling Cup) is the only other first team scorer this season.

With three points so important to the Gills, the onus will be placed firmly on attack from the very start - and manager Andy Hessenthaler will desperately be hoping for some new heroes to step up to the plate and hit the back of the net.

Danny Spiller proved his ability to score from midfield last season, while the exciting young talent or Matty Jarvis and Matt Bodkin both have the potential to score using their pace.

However, the focus will be on Gillingham's strikers. Darius Henderson proved during his prolific loan spell at Swindon that he can score goals, if given service. Sadly he's been starved of any real service since his return to Priestfield. A real workhorse of a striker, Henderson will battle hard for his chances - and if the young guns in the Gillingham midfield can provide the bullets, he can score the goals Gillingham need to get that all-important result.

Alongside him, Mama Sidibe still has to win over the home fans, who have cast question marks over the big Malian's strike rate. He works hard for the team, but strikers are ultimately judged on goals - and Mama, who showed great promise early last season, needs to show a more ruthless streak in front of goal. Playing alongside Henderson may take a little of the pressure of Sidibe, who is a better player on the deck than he is in the air, despite his height. Maybe playing off a target man like Henderson may bring the best out of Mama, only time will tell.

The wild card, who has been deprived of first-team action due to persistent injury problems, is Tommy Johnson. Owner of the best shot at the club, Johnson's ability to hit the target from in and around the penalty area makes him a genuine threat to opposition defences - providing he is given the ball to feet. His performances have often been hurt badly by having to deal with the consistent long-ball tactics of the Gills. However, on those rare occasions when the side plays to his strengths, Tommy Johnson has proved to be a matchwinner. His performance against Charlton in the FA Cup last season demonstrated Tommy at his best, playing off the front man and working hard for the team, while constantly threatening the opposition defence.

Johnson may well have a part to play against Wolves and Watford. If he is given the service he needs, he may just be the man to turn around Gillingham's fortunes.