The Gills manager looks ahead to Saturday's EFL opener against Southend United

Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh spoke to the media at the club photoshoot on Tuesday, ahead of the season opener on Saturday against Southend United.

The Gills travel to Roots Hall this weekend with a new-look squad and off the back of a promising pre-season. 

Edinburgh on…the curtain raiser against Southend: “We took fantastic numbers last season, it was like a home game, and I have no doubt that the travelling fans will get behind the players and the staff once again.

“As players and management, pre-season is a necessity, but the start of the season is where we look to do our work, this is where we come alive and Saturday is one we are all looking forward to.  

“We’ve done our preparation on Southend, but we will look to impose ourselves, play to our strengths and nullify Southend’s. We know what [ex-Gill] Jermaine McGlashan is capable of and they have other good players in their squad, but if we want to be successful it has got to be about how we perform, how we apply ourselves and I have every confidence in the players to do that.”

Edinburgh on…tactics and formations: “I feel on paper that this is a better group than it was last year, but what we have to do now is prove that. We have to go onto the field and show everyone that that is the case.

“We had a different system that we wanted to try out, but we haven’t been able to incorporate that throughout pre-season because of injuries. It is something that we will try out once the season starts and when certain players get back to full fitness. We have this week to train hard on the training ground before Southend on Saturday.”

Edinburgh on…injuries: “It has been tough, as we have had three major injuries that we can do nothing about. Lee Martin’s was a non-contact injury and it looks like he’ll be out for nine months. Aaron Morris was a twist on the first day of training. His knee went and he will see a consultant on Monday, but that’s not looking promising. And with Bradley Garmston, a tackle that he made has ended in him dislocating his kneecap. 

“It’s difficult to take, but we have to move on and be focused in making sure that we are ready for the start of the season, which I feel we are. Last year we picked up a couple of injuries to Cody [McDonald] and Doug Loft, so this group is used to it and equipped for it. 

“The players and I believe that setbacks like these will only make us stronger, together and more determined.”

Edinburgh on… potential transfers: “We wanted players in today, we wanted them in yesterday, but the window doesn’t shut until the end of August so we have to be careful with our planning. What the injuries have done is make it a bit more of a necessity to strengthen the group, but, when we do that, we have to make sure they are the right players that will make us stronger.

“Ideally we would like to get a couple in for Saturday, but if not, we go with what we have got and  I’ll have confidence in the group.

“Luke [Norris] has had talks with some clubs, so I’d expect something to happen. I can’t put a timescale on that, but if it’s going to happen it has got to be before the end of August because there are no emergency loans anymore.” 

The full press conference will be available to GillsPlayer subscribers shortly. 

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