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Bonner chomping at the bit
Bonner chomping at the bit

Gillingham boss Mark Bonner is now just over a week away from his first training session with his new players and the manager is chomping at the bit to get started. 

Whilst still constructing his squad for the new season, often Club budgets mean that long term loan signings are often looked at by sides, and after it has been confirmed that Connor Mahoney will not be returning to Priestfield after his loan spell last season, the Gills boss has been reflecting with KSN, how loans play a big part in modern day football.

“I think as you always you look to it, the key to really understanding any loan is the understanding that comes at the beginning with agreement between the parent club, the loaning club, the player, the agent; what is this loan about?”

“Is it just to experience senior football? If it is and you had a good loan in League Two last year, they are probably not coming back to League Two this year.” Bonner told us. 

“Loans don’t usually happen for a little bit of time yet, but we’ll certainly use that as part of our recruitment to bolster the squad for the competition for sure, and if it can get us a player that makes us better, I think that’s the main thing that we must try and find.”

“In the main, we will try and find players that we think can make us better now instantly; we are looking at signing people that can go again and still have gotten lots of growth in them. You have to get the balance right in the squad as you need a bit of everything!” Bonner added. 

With the Gills players reporting back for pre-season training on the first of July, Bonner told us, “I do not expect anything more to happen before we get the squad back now.”

“There will be a little bit of movement to making the squad before we start in August, but in terms of players available to leave, there’s no update there at the moment.”

“They will have the opportunities over pre-season, and I am sure we will have changes to the squad during that period because others are doing so and that ramps up increasingly during pre-season.”

“The key for us was going early in the signings that we have made meaning the difference to previous years is that we will start pre-season with a really good number of players so we can train properly, play properly and even if we have a game tomorrow, I could put a team on the pitch, the whole squad and they’re capable of playing the way I want them to.” 

“This is a good start; then we will add to that as time goes on, partly that would be from lists that we are working on now as identifying places that we think might be able to help.”

“That said, that may or may not be available until a few weeks into pre-season. Players might be available just because we need to move some players out before we can add any more to the squad, so there is lots of moving parts there.”

“I think we will add, we will strengthen and will be as strong as we can going into the season, but do not expect anything else yet and the final major point is that I have not met them all yet!”

“We have not taken a training session; we have not had the chance at running, meeting or played the game, so we have lots of learning to do about each other in the next month or so! Then we will see where we are.” 

“Dom Jefferies has obviously got this contract offer on the table and as the Chairman said before, we would love Dom to stay, but Dom must do what is best for him, so is it likely that he might leave? Honestly, I’ve no idea – he’s got a contract offer and he’s not signed anywhere or for anyone else or agreed in front of us, so he could still be here or he could be speaking to somewhere else – the fact is that he hasn’t signed yet, so there is no news on that and we will have to see what happens.”

“If he’s here great, if he’s not then that will enable us to do something else. We like him and I would be really surprised when we start playing pre-season if that situation is not sorted.” 

“Pre-season has a tough start on the pitch with the two biggest beginning here with Millwall and Watford, but they are good games. They have got a nice variety to allow us to do what we need to do and see.” 

“Whilst people could get excited and try and work out what the team is going be on day one for the season from the start of the friendlies, the truth is the eleven who will start on August tenth, I change teams quite regularly and do what I think is right for any game!” 

“Our pre-season goals must be; number one fitness, and number two organisation of the team. It is a free start to look at what combinations work so that we instantly hit the ground running.”

“We need time and development so we will appreciate the great time of year, hopefully we get smarter, decent weather so we can enjoy it.”

“I think everyone will be excited to be back, none more than me – given the amount of time I have been waiting to get back to doing training – so we will be looking forward to it and the players know that they are in for a tough time…” 

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.