Gary Mills: Gateshead manager 'still learning' about squad

Gateshead manager Gary Mills says he has got to know his players better during their recent blip in form.

The 52-year-old replaced Anth Smith as boss in September, and just four losses in 20 matches lifted the club from 19th to fourth in Conference Premier.

One win in seven games since has seen them slip out of the play-off places.

54 years and waiting...

Gateshead have not played in the Football League since 1960, but have been a professional club since the summer of 2010.

" I'm still learning about the squad and have done so a lot lately. But I am thoroughly enjoying it and overall, our results have been good," he said.

Since winning promotion to non-league's top-flight in 2009, the Tynesiders' highest finish was the eighth place achieved three years later.

Last season, Smith guided them to 17th after taking over from Ian Bogie midway through the campaign.

Mills took York City into the Football League two years ago but was sacked in March after a poor run of form, despite the Minstermen sitting four places above the relegation zone.

"Expectations certainly went up after having such a good start," he told BBC Newcastle.

"I never made any promises about making the play-offs this year, or next, or the year after. I lost my job at York because of a change in expectation after early success.

"But I'm not saying we're not targeting promotion. I came here because that was a challenge I wanted to take on."

Forest Green Rovers visit the International Stadium this weekend, five months after Mills turned down an approach to become their new manager.

"I can honestly say I have not thought about the decision since. I have a job to do here," he explained.