Gillingham manager Neil Harris reflects on the game at Dagenham and discusses the plan ahead of the trip to Stockport.
Neil Harris was pleased that his side ended their pre-season campaign with a positive display in the 1-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge.
The fixture was the final opportunity for Harris to trial certain combinations of players ahead of the season opener at Stockport next Saturday.
However, with the competition for places and increased injury issues, decisions will need to be made regarding the team selection for the season opener.
Updates on the players out injured…
No one will train before the end of the week, so I don’t know. It’s disappointing because we’ve pretty much had a fully fit squad other than losing Lewis Walker on day one.
Losing Oli Hawkins in Italy was a blow, but other than Oli, we’ve been pretty good every single day. Everyone has trained every day until right at the last knockings, and the Cambridge game in midweek was a bit of a problem, so we’ve lost a couple. That’s why you have a squad, and we will have to adapt.
It’s important to have the combinations. I wanted to see the centre halves as a combination. It was important to see Ethan [Coleman] and Tim Dieng as a combination, and the front four and how they blend.
Dom Jefferies, who has only had one full season, and then Ashley Nadesan and Tom Nichols, who know each other extremely well and they know their strengths, but the rest of the group hasn’t been with them before. They were the combinations that I needed to see.
The Goalkeeping situation…
I’ve got two number ones. Last pre-season, I felt that I had a number one and a one-and-a-half. As the season went on, and I think Jake made around 17 appearances last year, I thought every game he played, he got better.
I think that in pre-season, he’s shown himself to be a number one as well. It’s certainly a decision for me to have to make next week.
Building up to Stockport…
The intensity has been there all of pre-season, and that won’t change. The methodology behind the plan for the week won’t change to what I’ve always done, and to what the players are used to from last season, and what they’ve seen over the course of pre-season.
We have a real focus now. Next week the preparation is Stockport. We’re playing against, in my opinion, the league favourites. The first game of the season, away from home, in front of probably 10,000 people at Edgeley Park. It’s the toughest game we could have had on the opening day of the season, but it’s a great one for us.