We look ahead to the weekend's opening league fixture

GILLINGHAM v COLCHESTER UNITED Martin Allen should have a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of this weekend’s visit of Colchester United.

Kick-off: 3.00pm
MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Saturday August 3 2013
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The Manager said in his midweek press conference that he knew what his starting team would be for the game, however he refused to reveal names as the squad complete their week long preparation for the opening fixture.
Colchester boss Joe Dunne has revealed that he too has no injury concerns ahead of the trip to MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

Centre-half Josh Thompson, midfielder Craig Eastmond and winger Sanchez Watt have all been in the treatment room during pre-season but all three should be fighting fit for the League One opener. Gills manager Martin Allen has brought in four players during the summer months with Cody McDonald and Antonio German returning after successful loan stints last season.

oung central defender Daniel Pappoe.Another to arrive from Stamford Bridge, on a six-month loan, is y
Sam Walker has gone back on loan until mid-January. goalkeeper Chelsea Eastmond and Watt, both from Arsenal, have joined on two-year deals while

There are also three players in Joe Dunne’s squad who have signed on a permanent basis having been on loan at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last season.

Bayo Akinfenwa returns for a second spell after enjoying a fantastic strike partnership with McDonald during the 2010/11 season, and Amine Linganzi joins after an impressive display at Priestfield for Accrington Stanley earlier in the year.

The Irish right-back, who made 115 appearances for the club after coming through the youth ranks here at Priestfield, following his arrival from Dublin-based Cherry Orchard FC, said:

birthday back in May, expects many of his friends and family will have split loyalties when the two sides meet at the weekend. th Speaking this week Colchester boss Joe Dunne, who celebrated his 40

Two other new faces are youngsters Conor Hubble (QPR) and Mason Spence (MK Dons) who both ended last season on trial with the U’S under-21 side.
The most recent arrival is former Southampton left-back Ryan Dickson who signed a one-year deal after impressing during the pre-season campaign. “Gillingham gave me my first chance as a professional footballer, and I have a lot of friends who are season ticket holders there.

“I suppose you can say there will be some split loyalties.

“Both chased the dream of the Championship, and both have seen improvements to their ground in recent years. Both will now be looking to get back into Championship again.”
“It is another club very dear to me, whom I respect. In fact, Gillingham and Colchester are very similar sized clubs.
minute winner. th That day Darren Byfield clinched the points for Neale Cooper’s team with an 89

he most recent of which came in a League One fixture on August 6 2005. This afternoon will be the seventh time that the two clubs have faced each other on the opening day of the season, t

In these games Gillingham narrowly hold the upper hand with 31 wins to their name, United have 30 while there have also been 26 draws.

Over the years there have been 87 meetings between the two clubs in all competitions which date back to the first, a Southern League fixture at Layer Road on August 27 1938, which the Essex side won 2-0.

Brown, Rose, Jackman, Hessenthaler (Shields 61), Cox, Hope, Flynn, Pouton (Jarvis 72), Byfield, Spiller (Corneille 85), Crofts:Gillingham

The two teams that afternoon were as follows -

minute but Andrew Crofts levelled matters with a diving header fifteen minutes from the end. thNeil Danns had put Colchester ahead in the 50

:Unused subs Davison, Halford, Danns, Brown, Watson, Duguid, Izzet (Williams 90), Baldwin (Yeates 90), Chilvers, Stockley, Iwelumo:Colchester

Knowles, Johnson

:Unused subs– His most recent Gills game was the goalless draw against Exeter City at St James Park in March and in his dozen games last season, from February through to the end of the campaign, he issued 47 yellow and three red cards.

The Hertfordshire official has been in charge of numerous Gillingham games over the years dating back to a visit from Preston North End in September 1999.

Fourth official: Ryan Atkin
Assistants: Stephen Daly & Dan Robathan
Referee: Keith Hill

Gerken, Elokobi, Howell