Peter Taylor insisted it was mission accomplished after his Gillingham side confirmed their League 1 place for another season despite a 3-1 defeat to Preston North End.

North End led for most of the first half thanks to captain John Welsh's early strike but Cody McDonald equalised just before the break.

However, the hosts struck twice in six second-half minutes through Paul Gallagher and substitute Neil Kilkenny to climb up to third position in the table, with Gills in 16th spot.

Yet with other results going their way, Taylor's team are now mathematically safe from the threat of relegation.

While the manager expected it, he admits it is still a weight off his mind.

"That feels great and I think that the players have worked exceptionally hard," said Taylor.

"We lost today but we played a very good team and there were some good spells from us. There were some bad ones too. But the main objective was to stay in the division.

"We've all had a big test. I'm sure we can be better next season and hopefully we can improve on things that weren't so good.

``The objective was to make sure we stayed in the division. We still can get 55 [points] and pick up a place or two. The players deserve a lot of credit. I know they've been inconsistent but that's not deliberate.

"It's a case of certain players being out of contract. I'm sure there will be a lot of work in the summer. We said we would never discuss anything until we're safe so now we are safe now and we can talk.

``The club didn't have a particularly good start so to finish up with 52 points, I think we've got to be pleased with that."

Preston's victory lifted them up to third in League One and while they are already assured of a play-off place but nothing more, manager Simon Grayson wants the club to keep their foot on the gas.

"We've been saying for the last few weeks that we want to be going into the play-offs with momentum," he said.

"Getting this home form firing is important and very much like Monday's match we created a lot of chances and took some of them.

"Now we're in that position that if we win next week we'll stay in third. We could still finish third, fourth or fifth, that's just the nature of the play-offs. It will be nice to have something riding on that game. We want to keep that edge to the players.``

Grayson added: ``When I came to the club it was a place that wasn't a very nice place to be. What you want as a manager is a connection between the players and supporters. We've got a unity together. Anything we achieve this year will be for everybody, not just the players and the staff but for the whole football club."