Martin Allen has promised the Gillingham fans that he and his team will be aiming to put the smiles back on their faces with a win against the Cobblers on Saturday.
The Gills were booed off the Priestfield Stadium pitch on Boxing Day following their 1-0 defeat to lowly Barnet.
The Kent side are still top of the npower League Two pile, sitting two points clear of second-placed Port Vale, but they have now won just one of their past six games and find themselves under a bit of pressure as the Cobblers come calling.
Asked if he understood the Gillingham fans’ frustrations following the defeat to Barnet, Allen said: “They pay their money so they are entitled to their opinion and they have given some fantastic support so if you don’t play well that’s the business we are in.
“You have to take it on the chin, they pay their money and they want to be entertained.
“I think every supporter in the second half would say `that was more like it ` and what they want to see.
“We will all be saying exactly the same as me – first half can do better, got to do better and want to do better and when you pay you can say what you like.
“We need to put the smiles back on those people’s faces – they have given us unbelievable support and they want to see us win.
“More than anything our football supporters want to see our team play with passion, desire and see them competing.
“Once you get those things in order they want to see our team pass the ball on the grass, zip it about and move it and that’s what they want to see and that’s what we have had in place for six months.”
Town boss Aidy Boothroyd was at the Priestfield to take in the Barnet game and will have been encouraged by the Gills’ struggles, and Allen admitted he was disappointed by his team.
“It certainly wasn’t the Boxing Day I expected or hoped for, it was a disappointing first half performance and I think we stepped up well in the second half but I have to ask myself and perhaps ask the players why we didn’t get going?”, said Allen.
“We were a yard short all over the pitch; we didn’t zip the ball about like we can or how we like to do. One shot got punished and Barnet do play some good football there is no doubt about it and it’s difficult when you are chasing a team when they get it down and pop it around like they do with the extra player in midfield.
“It’s our job to counter that and put our own mark on the game and we didn’t do that.
“The first half was frustrating because we all know we can play better than that. If you play really well and you don’t get any luck or any breaks and you don’t manage to win then I am fine but we are a better team than that.
“We play better football, we compete better and run faster than we did in the first half and that’s the disappointment.
“I think we have lost two in 13 or three in 14 so I suppose that’s pretty good and it’s only a couple of weeks ago we beat Rotherham so it’s not too bad. There is room for improvement without a shadow of a doubt, it doesn’t worry me but something obviously has to be looked at with the performance.”