Gills boss hoping his patience is rewarded as management continue to hunt down the right players ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Gills boss Neil Harris says recruitment remains the main focus at this moment in time, but the manager is adamant he will not sign players for the sake of it. He wants the right players, and characters.
With pre-season underway, the boss discussed his happiness to finally be back to work on the field as well as what to look forward to in the club’s first friendly fixture against Folkestone Invicta.
The fixture release:
It’s nice for the players and the staff to look and see where they are at Christmas and to see where they are for the birthdays of family members. There’s an excitement to it. It’s an exciting day in the footballing calendar for the fans as they can start planning journeys and seeing when they can get away and take days off work.
There’s a lot of travelling in the division this year, so I think it’s important that the fans get to see when they need to get Friday and Tuesday afternoons off work. There is clarity in a lot of aspects.
I think that the Papa John’s Trophy draw was quite good for us. I quite like the look of that one with two home games here, then going off to Charlton up the road, which will be a nice venue to play at. It will be a good experience for a lot of the players to go there and for some of the younger players to get an opportunity.
The Carabao Cup is a bit of a deflator if I’m honest.
Opening game of the season:
I’m more than comfortable being away for the first game. I don’t get over analysing fixtures at this stage. The important thing is that we know that we’re going to AFC Wimbledon, then at home to Rochdale, and then we’ve got Wimbledon in the cup.
We can do our research early and focus on the teams that we play early, and we can cover them during pre-season. I can get to the games myself, as can the staff. We can get all of the opposition data covered, and we can prepare properly.
The start of pre-season:
It’s absolutely brilliant. The lads are in great shape. We’ve got a small group at the moment, as we know, but it’s a great group with a really strong spirit and atmosphere. They’re really good lads and players.
What the last couple of days have shown me is that in the building with the lads we’ve got is:
A) we know they are good players, and
B) are good characters. I’ve enjoyed their company. I know the quality of the youth team coming through, they may not be ready at the moment, but I can take pride in watching them. I’m really upbeat because I’m really pleased with what I’ve seen over the last 48 hours.
I have to be patient. I know that, and I’ve talked about that, and I don’t want to keep repeating myself as people will get bored of hearing that. We’re in the market for players, both loans and permanents. Some we get close to, and some we will miss out on. Then there are some that we’re very close to or almost done, where we’ve just got to wait for timing.
I’m not one to make false promises, and I don’t talk for the sake of it. I’d rather talk with clarity and fact and announce players when they’re in. Are we close? Yes, we are, but we’ve been close before, and they’ve not got over the line.
We are close, and we do hope to get them over the line. Balance is making sure that I get the right players and don’t take the wrong player for the right or wrong reason.
What to expect at Folkestone:
The idea is that the players will play for a maximum of 45 minutes. It’s still early days, and I don’t want to tempt fate as everyone’s been brilliant for the last couple of days and let it continue. We will have players training with us that will be looking to earn contracts, so they will be on show as well. We will talk about them nearer the time.
There will be a selection of players playing that are handpicked to come and play and join the group. Academy players will certainly get an opportunity, as I’m desperate to see four or five of them play that we really like the look of.
It will be a mixed group between players that are signed and in the building, lads that are in training with us with the purpose of looking at being here for a longer term, and then the younger players. The idea will be to give a maximum of 45 minutes to the majority of the players.