We preview some of the big games that lay ahead of the Gills next season
With the league season now at a close and the Gills well aware of what lays ahead next season, we have compiled some `spotlights` on some of the big games the club will compete in next season.
Sheffield United are certainly one of the `glamour ties`of the 2013/14 season for supporters. The Blades were a Premiership outfit not so long ago and their high profile will provide a huge incentive to try and cause an upset away from home, and the strong following the club will bring to MEMS Priestfield Stadium is likely to create a fantastic atmosphere.
After being relegated from the top flight in the 06/07 season under Neil Warnock, the club went in to a progressive downward spiral with several managers coming and going in a short space of time, which unfortunately saw the Blades relegated to npower League One at the end of the 2010-11 campaign under the wing of Micky Adams, having spent four seasons in the Championship.
Former Sheffield Wednesday boss Danny Wilson then took over, but he was sacked earlier this year with the club vying for a play-off spot.
Chris Morgan took over as Caretaker, but was unable to achieve promotion with the club suffering a play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Yeovil Town.
A new full time Manager has yet to be appointed, but no doubt they will be one of the pre-season promotion favourites as they look to get back in to the second tier of English Football.
To achieve that it is likely they will call upon the services of experienced strike duo Dave Kitson and Richard Cresswell, should they remain at the club, both of whom have played in the Premier League.
Kitson, 33, played in the top flight for both Reading and Stoke City before signing permanently for Portsmouth in 2010. While at Fratton Park he scored 12 goals in 71 appearances prior to joining United.
He has averaged one goal every three games at the Blades, netting 11 times in total.
Cresswell, 35, made his name at York City in the mid 90’s before spells at Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday. He then spent four years at Preston North End prior to signing for Leeds United.
At Elland Road he netted nine times in 38 games before joining Kitson at Stoke. He then joined the Blades permanently following a successful loan spell, before re-signing for York towards the end of last season to help them beat relegation.
Nearly a decade has passed since the two teams last locked horns, that game taking place at Bramall Lane in November 2004 where the Gills earned a respectable point courtesy of a 0-0 draw.
The clubs have met 20 times in total with each team winning seven games, the other six resulting in a draw.
In addition to Sheffield United there are of course 22 other sides to focus on in League One, and we have supplied a brief overview of selected sides.
Manager: Phil Parkinson
Home Stadium: Valley Parade
2012/13 position: 6th in League Two (promoted via the play-offs)
It was certainly a season to remember for the Bantams with two visits to Wembley sandwiched by a solid league season which eventually saw them creep in to a top six position to stay in with a promotion shout.
Victories over Premiership sides Arsenal and Aston Villa saw them qualify for the Capital One Cup Final, although Swansea proved a step too far with Michael Laudrup’s team showing their class by taking the trophy with a 5-0 win.
Bradford rallied back though and with an impressive run in of five wins in nine games, they secured the final place in the play-offs where they defeated both Burton and Northampton to secure a position in League One.
The Gills however took six points from the Yorkshire club - Martin Allen's side won 3-1 at Priestfield on the opening day prior to securing a 1-0 victory at Valley Parade in February.
Danny Kedwell begins his run-up for a penalty against Bradford
Manager: Uwe Rosler
Home Stadium: Griffin Park
2012/13 position: 3rd in League One (lost to Yeovil 2-1 in the play-off final)
Brentford were desperately unfortunate not to clinch automatic promotion to the Championship after missing a crucial penalty in the final moments against Doncaster Rovers in their last league game, the only team who could deprive them of that achievement.
Having missed the spot kick Donny went straight down the other end and rubbed salt in to the wounds by scoring almost immediately.
They overcame Swindon in the play-off semi-finals but then lost to Yeovil 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
They will be determined to bounce back at the first time of asking, and the atmosphere for our visit to West London is bound to be electric with Martin Allen returning to his former club.
Jonathan Douglas, a former Gills loanee, is on the books at Brentford and is likely to play against his former club should he stay with the team. The 31-year-old played ten times while at Priestfield during a loan spell from Blackburn Rovers in the 2004/05 season.
Former Gills left-back John Nutter in action against Brentford
Manager: Sean O’Driscoll
Home Stadium: Ashton Gate
2012/13 position: 24th in the Championship (were relegated to League One)
The Gills will travel to Ashton Gate for the second successive season having beaten them 2-1 in the first round of the Capital One Cup last August.
City struggled to get their campaign going, and after a 4-0 home defeat to Leicester at the start of the year they sacked Derek McInnes and replaced him with former Nottingham Forest boss Sean O’Driscoll. But despite his best efforts he was unable to save them from relegation.
However the team are re-building, and with some new signings and a fresh start City will fancy their chances of bouncing back to the Championship first time around.
Michael Flynn attempts a pass against City
Manager: Greg Abbott
Home Stadium: Brunton Park
2012/13 position: 17th in League One
By far and away the Gills longest trip of the season, the players and fans alike will rack up a 700-mile return journey to take on a Carlisle side who did well to avoid a relegation dogfight during the latter stages of the season.
They lost just three of their last 11 games, two of those being their final matches of the season after securing their status in League One for at least another year.
The Gills haven’t beaten Carlisle in over six years so Martin Allen’s side will want to put things right as they prepare for one of the longest away trips in the Football League.
Stuart Lewis in action against Carlisle in the 09-10 season
Manager: Joe Dunne
Home Stadium: Colchester Community Stadium
2012/13 position: 20th (51 points in League One)
The U’s narrowly avoided being relegated to League Two, finishing just one place above the drop zone after securing four points from their final two matches against Carlisle and Shrewsbury Town.
United are likely to field a familiar face with David Wright on the books at the Community Stadium.
The midfielder played seven times for the Gills during a loan spell from Crystal Palace during the 2012/13 season, and despite attempts to sign him for a second time, Wright decided to join United in January on a free transfer.
Another notable presence is that of Freddie Sears – the striker, who has been capped three times by the England U21’s, came through the ranks at West Ham United and enjoyed several loan spells before signing permanently for Colchester on a free transfer last summer.
Jack Payne in action at Priestfield against Colchester
The only way to guarantee your seat at Priestfield for the visit of Sheffield United, and for the other mentioned sides, is to book your League One season ticket.
You can do so by clicking the link below.