We look ahead to the Southern Area Final first leg between Gillingham and Bristol City.The Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Area Final gets started on Tuesday when Gillingham host Bristol City in the first leg at Priestfield.
The managerless Gills have struggled in Sky Bet League 1 so far this season and sit just above the drop zone, while the Robins have flourished and are level on points with Swindon at the summit having played a game fewer.
Andy Hessenthaler will be in charge of the home side, as he was on Saturday when they lost their third game in four, against Port Vale. City come into the match after drawing 1-1 with Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup last time out, and they've lost only once in eight in all competitions.
ROUTE TO THE AREA FINAL
Four of Gillingham's six league wins have come at home this term but they've won three away ties to get to the Area Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
They saw off Stevenage 1-0 before needing penalties to advance past Colchester after a thrilling 3-3 draw over 90 minutes. A trip to Crawley was next up and they won that 2-1, prior to beating Leyton Orient 1-0 in Kent to make it to the last four.
First Round: Stevenage 0-1 Gillingham
Second Round: Colchester United 3-3 Gillingham (2-4 on penalties)
Area Quarter-Finals: Crawley Town 1-2 Gillingham
Area Semi-Finals: Gillingham 1-0 Leyton Orient
Bristol City's route to the Area Finals has been relatively routine; or so they've made it seem.
They got the better of Sky Bet League 2's Cheltenham Town in front of the Sky Sports cameras in their first outing, then overcame AFC Wimbledon 2-1 before breezing past Coventry 2-0 to set-up an Area Final with Gillingham.
First Round: Bye
Second Round: Cheltenham Town 1-3 Bristol City
Area Quarter-Finals: Bristol City 2-1 AFC Wimbledon
Area Semi-Finals: Bristol City 2-0 Coventry City
This will be the third time that these two sides have locked horns this season, and Bristol City hold the upper hand so far.
Their FA Cup meeting in November ended 2-1 to the travelling Robins, while they also triumphed when the pair clashed in the league at Priestfield on 28th December, by a 3-1 scoreline with goals from Aden Flint, Matt Smith and Scott Wagstaff. In all, Steve Cotterill's men are unbeaten in five meetings against the Gills.
The overall head-to-head record reads 28 wins for Bristol City, compared to Gillingham's 21. The other 15 clashes have ended level, but they've never played out a draw when meeting in a cup competition.
Stand-in Gillingham boss Hessenthaler will be without Aaron Morris, who has a hamstring injury, while fellow midfielder Amine Linganzi is also a doubt.
Bristol City also have two doubts, in midfield duo Luke Freeman and Scott Wagstaff. The pair were on the bench for the FA Cup draw with Doncaster at the weekend.
Smith hoping to right JPT wrongs: City striker Matt Smith is aiming to set the record straight after missing out on a Wembley appearance with Oldham Athletic.
We'll be providing live updates from the game at Priestfield via the official Johnstone's Paint Trophy Twitter page - @JP_Trophy. Join in the conversation using #JPT.