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Gills Joe targets twin peaks

13 April 2013

By Tony Leighton

Gillingham have become the season's first Football League team to clinch promotion but, says defender Joe Martin ahead of Saturday's trip to Cheltenham Town, that is only the first part of a big twin aim for the npower League 2 club.

The Gills want to finish their excellent campaign as champions of their division, a feat achieved by the club only once before - and that was way back in 1964, and also in The Football League's basement division.

So Martin's delight at winning promotion, after his first two seasons at the club both ended with the Gills agonisingly just one place outside the Play-Off positions, has been tempered with the burning ambition to take the title.

After beating Torquay United at Priestfield last Saturday to ensure a climb up to League 1, victory at fifth in the table Cheltenham - themselves still in with a chance of automatic promotion - would confirm Gillingham as champions.

Martin told football-league.co.uk: "We want that winners' trophy. It was fantastic to clinch promotion last week, especially in front of our home fans, and obviously everybody was very happy on the Saturday night.

"But we all said that we wouldn't settle for promotion, what we want to do now is to finish the season on a real high by making club history as the first Gillingham team for very nearly 50 years to become champions.

"We've got three games left to do it and if it comes at Cheltenham that would be great. But it will be tough against a team who've been a bit like ourselves in the last couple of seasons - a good side that's not quite done it at the death."

Cheltenham reached last season's Play-Off final before having their promotion hopes ended, while in the last two campaigns Gillingham's quest has faltered after looking capable of reaching the Play-Offs.

The appointment of Martin Allen as manager last summer proved the kick-start that the Gills needed and Martin, signed from Blackpool in August 2010, said: "The manager brought in his own ideas and they've worked.

"He also brought in players that have really strengthened the team and we've more or less steamrollered the division. Even when we've not been at our best we've come up with dogged performances that have got us results.

"After the frustrations of the last two seasons, especially my first one at the club when we missed out on reaching the Play-Offs only on goal difference, this season has been great - but it won't be done until we are champions."

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