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Harris | "We need a boost"

Gills boss says a win over Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup would give everybody a much needed lift going into the festive season.

8 December 2022

Gills manager hoping an FA Cup win over Dagenham can give everyone a boost.

Neil Harris says he is ready for Gillingham's FA Cup round two replay tussle with Dagenham & Redbridge; a huge game which promises huge rewards.

With a place in the third round and a glamour home tie against Premier League heavyweights Leicester City awaiting the victor, there is much riding on this replay. The two sides previously fought out a 1-1 draw at the Chigwell Construction Stadium in November, but with the guarantee of a lucrative match with the 2015-16 Premier League Champions, the stakes have got even higher.

"Leicester at home is a huge attraction for both clubs," admitted the Gillingham manager. "What awaits in the next round is mega for both teams. We will try and use this game as a stepping stone to galvanise us moving forward.

"The team-talk for Daryl McMahon (Dagenham's manager) will be my team-talk also. An opportunity to be in the third round against Leicester City, that is what drives me on for this one.

"I respect the FA Cup massively and I want to get through. I want my players and the fans to experience Leicester here in the third round. I will pick a very competitive team but I do have to think about the three games in eight days scenario.

"What we have done well in the cups this year is that we have managed to stay in games against so-called better opposition, whether that is from our own league, the league above or the Premier League. We have found a way to win games. That's what we need to do against Dagenham. We need to show diligence, desire and creativity."

With the game being shown live on BBC Three and also BBC iPlayer there will be an added incentive for both sides to put in a big performance. Harris, however, does not expect his players to feel any pressure from the extra attention the live television coverage will bring.

"We take for granted that a lot of football is on TV nowadays," he said. "Players are used to it and get on with it. For me, when I played, it didn't make any difference if it was on telly or not. It just enables more family and friends to see it who maybe can't get to the game. The cameras shouldn't make any difference.

"We need a boost and I need a boost. The players and the fans need a lift at the moment. Finding success in the next two games, getting through in the cup and a positive result in the league, would certainly boost us. This is an opportunity for us to show everything good about us. "

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