THE BIG MATCH

npower League 2 frontrunners Gillingham will want to build on their five-point lead at the top of the table when they travel to Exeter City on Tuesday.

The Gills took advantage of second-placed Port Vale's slip-up at the weekend by beating Plymouth Argyle 2-1, and they will be eager to press home their lead as the season heads towards its climax.

Following their weekend victory against the Pilgrims, manager Martin Allen stressed to the Kent Messenger: "The job is not done.

"Let's not get carried away. When we don't win we only lose three points and when we do win it's only three points gained.

"I don't care how the other teams got on. It is just about us getting as many points as possible, as quickly as possible and that goal has never changed.

"I have to prepare the players to play against Exeter on Tuesday night. I am sure all the supporters went home and celebrated but the players went home to rest and I watched the DVD.

"These are exciting times but I don't look at other clubs and this and that and take my eye off what is important, it is only us and our players."

Exeter harbour promotion ambitions of their own but come into the match off the back of a loss and a draw, and those results have seen the Grecians slip to seventh, the lowest Play-Off place.

They have a five-point cushion over eighth-placed Southend, however, so will remain in the Play-Offs regardless of the results in the division on Tuesday. They will want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, though.

Manager Paul Tisdale believes it is his side's trickiest home match of the season, but insists they will do their utmost to try and gain a valuable three points to aid their promotion push.

He told the Western Morning News: "It will be another tough game and whatever will be will be, but we will go out looking for the win again.

"They [Gillingham] have the same away record as we have in terms of wins, so we know they have been used to winning as well.

"I have to say it will be our toughest home challenge of the season going by statistics."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Nigel Worthington will be searching for his first win as York City manager on Tuesday when the Minstermen host Rochdale.

The former Northern Ireland boss took over at Bootham Crescent last week but his first match, away at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, ended in a 3-2 defeat, which dragged last season's Blue Square Premier Play-Off Final winners closer to relegation back to non-league.

Their winless run now stands at 12 matches and they are just three points above the bottom two, but Worthington remains confident.

"I have been here a week and the players around the place are smiling and working hard," the 51-year-old explained to the York Press.

"There is good spirit there. All the things are right, I think it's just about holding the nerve on the big stage and going and performing.

"There's two things and they are straightforward. They are not difficult. You have got to try and keep clean sheets to give yourself a chance of winning games and, after that, you've got to score goals.

"It's something we keep mentioning and trying to imprint in the players' heads. If we individually do our jobs well and then put it all together as a team then that can become a strength for us."

Rochdale only sit three places above York, in 16th, and are just five points better off.

The Dale have found it tough this season in League 2 but they did record a thumping 4-1 triumph against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

That result, which was manager Keith Hill's second win since his return to Spotland in January, eased his side's relegation worries slightly, and the 43-year-old wants his men to show some much-needed consistency.

"We go to York full of confidence, full of trepidation and full of unknown quantities because we have been up and down, up and down," he told Manchester Evening News.

"We want that consistency. There had been question marks over whether we could compete with the better sides in the division - and I don't consider some of the teams at the top of the table to be the better sides in the division.

"I consider York, Wycombe, Exeter City to be very good footballing sides."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Burton Albion lead the way in the form table with five of their last six matches ending in victory, and they are on the road to Aldershot Town, who remain unbeaten since Andy Scott's appointment but sit just three points above the bottom two.

Northampton Town, in fourth, are breathing down the third-placed Brewers' necks and the Cobblers will hope to replace them in the automatic promotion places with a win at Morecambe.

Cheltenham Town and Rotherham United are the other two teams in the Play-Offs and while the Robins aren't in action, the Millers will be aiming to bounce back from their weekend defeat against Dagenham and Redbridge when they face Wycombe Wanderers.

The Daggers will certainly be buoyed by that victory at the New York Stadium and on Tuesday they have a home game against Torquay United to contend with.

The Gulls have lost eight of their last nine and are dangerously close to the relegation zone, just a point above Accrington Stanley and Plymouth Argyle, the two teams that occupy the bottom two places.

Leam Richardson's Stanley are at home to Fleetwood Town, who are seven points off the Play-Offs and without a victory in five, while the Pilgrims host Bradford City.

Southend United are a place above Fleetwood, and two points better off, and will want to carry on from where they left off on Saturday, when they registered a 2-1 victory against Port Vale, in a home match with AFC Wimbledon.

The second-placed Valiants, meanwhile, will be eager to get back on the winning trail but they face a tough challenge in Bristol Rovers. Micky Adams' men will need to start picking up victories again if they want to maintain their place in the top three.

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