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Gills set to kick off friendlies
Gills set to kick off friendlies

Pre-season is always an exciting time for a football club. A fresh start, new faces and pre-season friendlies are just a few things that fans look forward to straight after the conclusion of the past season. 

Gills currently have four scheduled pre-season friendlies, with a possibility of more being announced in due course.

The fixtures will give the fans a chance to see what Neil Harris and his staff have been building over the summer.

This Saturday, Neil Harris takes his Gills side to the BuildKent stadium to take on Folkestone Invicta of the Isthmian Premier. Fans should expect several trialists in the match day squad, with some youth in the mix as well.

Gillingham’s new arrivals all have a chance of featuring against Invicta.

Seven days later, Gills are away to a Kent side again, Andy Hessenthaler’s Dover Athletic being the opposition. The Whites are also going through a rebuilding stage following their relegation from the National League. By this time, Gills will likely have made a few more additions to the side, with right-back being a position which isn’t currently occupied. 

Portsmouth will be the next opposition for the Gills on July 16th, and by far it is the toughest test on paper. Fans will be familiar with Danny Cowley’s Pompey side after the two meetings last term – resulting in two defeats for Gillingham. This will mark the Gills’ return to action at Priestfield following relegation to League Two. 

The last of the scheduled friendlies will be a trip under the River Thames to take on Southend United at Roots Hall, one week before the start of the season. Gillingham’s last trip here was back in 2020, in League One, with a Connor Ogilvie header the difference that night – just look how much can change in two years!

We should see a near full-strength Gills side, with a possibility of youth and trialists in Gills jerseys. 

Harris will want to use these friendlies to experiment with the players he has available to him. In recent years, Gills have been playing catch-up after a poor start to the season; therefore the squad must have a good bond on the pitch.

Off the pitch, pre-season friendlies help to form connections between clubs. It is important that you have links with your local clubs, but also teams high in the pyramid as well.

For example, last season Steve Evans’ Gillingham faced Norwich City in a friendly and subsequently took Dan Adshead and Tom Dickson-Peters on loan.