Sky Bet League 1: Jake Hessenthaler pleased with Gillingham progress
Gillingham youngster Jake Hessenthaler is pleased with the progress he and the club have made in the 2013/14 campaign.
Last Updated: 27/03/14 5:43pm
Having lifted the League Two title last term, consolidation in the third tier has been the name of the game for the Gills.
They have hit that target with room to spare, with a mid-table standing offering them a solid platform on which to build.
Hessenthaler told Sky Sports on the club's motivation for the final few weeks of the season: "We've got seven games left and there is still that chance of us getting dragged into it (at the bottom), so you've just got to keep going.
"Hopefully we can get a couple more wins. We probably only need one more really, get to that 50-point mark and then I'll try and play as many games as I can through to the end of the season and pick up as many points as possible.
"Trying to stay in this league was our main achievement. Hopefully we can do that. The club came up into League One a few years ago and went straight back down - we didn't want that to happen again.
"We just wanted to stay in the league and next year we can try and bolster up again and try to keep moving up the leagues."
Gillingham believe they are a side heading in the right direction, with a tumble out of the Championship in 2005 and subsequent financial difficulties now a thing of the past as they set their sights on climbing back up the ladder.
"We have a lot of passion and desire in our team and we can grind results out," Hessenthaler said on the strengths of Peter Taylor's side.
"But we need to win more games and try to create more chances and try to play a bit more football. I think we're trying to do that now. We've been doing that and I think the results have been showing that.
"We just need to play a bit more football. As you get higher up the league, you get players who are technically good and I think they will look to play more.
"We're not looking down now, we want to look up. We want to keep moving forward and the Championship is where the club has been - we want to get back there."
Hessenthaler hopes he can play a leading role in guiding Gillingham to future promotions, with the 19-year-old midfielder having made rapid progress since breaking into the first team set-up at Priestfield on the back of a number of non-league loan spells.
He said: "I didn't expect to play this many games, if I'm being honest, given that I only made my debut in November. I'm over the moon about how many games I've played and to be a part of the first team and playing in a squad like this, I've really enjoyed it.
"I don't see myself going out on loan anymore, I want to knuckle down and try and get a spot in the first XI and keep that as a regular place.
"I know how long I am going to be here now (having penned a long-term contract in February) so I can focus on progressing my career and my footballing ability. I'm working hard."
The teenager believes he is working with the ideal coach to help him fulfil his undoubted potential, with Taylor's time spent working with talented youngsters having helped to shape his successful career.
Hessenthaler added: "He's obviously worked with the U21s with England and he has worked with a lot of youngsters. That's a good thing because he knows how he wants players to play.
"I want to play football, I want to create things, and that's his philosophy. It's great."
Jake Hessenthaler was talking to Sky Sports on behalf of Sky Bet, the Title Sponsor of The Football League. For a wide range of match odds and specials on all Football League matches and a £5 free bet every week, go to skybet.com.