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John Collins: Gillingham to suffer

last updated Friday 23rd February 2001, 9:35 AM
John Collins
John Collins expects Gillingham to feel the backlash.

John Collins expects Gillingham to feel the backlash after Fulham suffered only their fourth league defeat of the season at Burnley on Tuesday night.

The league leaders lost 2-1 at Turf Moor after Barry Hayles had put them in front in the second half. And the Cottagers coach is looking to make amends at the Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.

"There's 13 games to go and we're still in a healthy position so there's no point in getting too downbeat, " said the Scot. "But we've got to react for Saturday at Gillingham. "It'll be a hard game but the most important thing in football is how you react to a defeat. "And I'm sure the reaction will be good. "

Jean Tigana's side remain nine points clear of second-placed Bolton and are still firmly on course to return to the Premiership. But Collins hit back at suggestions the Londoners are now coasting their way to the First Division title.

"No, I don't think that is the case, not at all," the Scot added. "If that was the case there would be some serious problems - it motivates the players even more being clear at the top."

Collins, himself, continued his return to full fitness after three months on the sidelines through injury. The former Scotland midfielder played his second match in four days, but feels he still has some way to go before he is back to his best. "It was only my second game back and it'll be a while to get back into the full swing of things - I was out for three months and only had 45 minutes with the reserves before returning last Saturday. "I played 65 minutes last Saturday and 70 at Burnley so it'll be 90 soon. "But it'll take time before I'm back to what I was."

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