Steve Lovell can finally drop the word ‘caretaker’ from his job title.
The former Gillingham striker, who was a coach under previous boss Adrian Pennock, took over after first Pennock, then Peter Taylor, departed the club.
Lovell took over with the club in the midst of an awful run of form that saw them take just one win from their opening 12 league games.
But, despite low expectations from the fans following a depressing start to the campaign, Lovell oversaw a remarkable turnaround in form and attitude as the team visibly improved under his caretaker reign.
Steve Lovell as Gillingham caretaker boss
|Saturday October 14||Peterborough United||A||Won 1-0|
|Tuesday October 17||Wigan Athletic||H||Drew 1-1|
|Saturday October 21||Northampton Town||H||Lost 2-1|
|Saturday October 28||Rotherham United||A||Won 3-1|
|Saturday November 4||Leyton Orient (FA Cup)||H||Won 2-1|
|Tuesday November 7||Reading U21 (EFL Trophy)||H||Won 7-5|
|Saturday November 11||Bury||H||Drew 1-1|
Tasked with a tough away trip to Peterborough, Lovell guided the Gills to a shock 1-0 victory at London Road, then followed up with a strong home performance and a 1-1 draw with league leaders Wigan.
A disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Northampton followed, but Lovell’s Gills bounced back, winning 3-1 at promotion-chasing Rotherham, then kicking off their FA Cup campaign with a 2-1 home win over Leyton Orient.
Most recently, Lovell’s side recovered from a disappointing first half to earn a battling 1-1 draw with Bury at Priestfield.
The team’s improved form finally convinced Gills chairman Paul Scally to act and, just over a month after the club was left managerless, he finally took the plunge and offered Lovell a contract until the end of the season.
Lovell’s next tests sees the Gills make back-to-back away trips to Walsall (Saturday) and Blackpool (Tuesday night).
The difference now is the players know who their boss will be for the remainder of the campaign.