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Harris | "We have to hit the ground running"

Gills boss says his players need to be at it from the first whistle on Saturday afternoon as Hartlepool prepare to make the long journey to ME7.

13 January 2023

Neil Harris says there is a spring in the step of everyone at the club following a productive couple of weeks both on and off the pitch.

With an influx of new signings and more expected to follow, Neil Harris is calling on his new-look Gills side to ‘hit the ground running’ ahead of their Sky Bet League Two crunch match with Hartlepool.

The ME7 revolution is quickly gathering pace and, whisper it quietly, Gillingham look like a team with the wind in their sails.

Harris, who has vowed to spend wisely in the transfer market as he looks to shape his side for the battle ahead, admits that he needs his new recruits to be firing on all cylinders from the get-go in attempt to push the team away from the foot of the league.

An upbeat Harris faced the media to discuss life behind the scenes at Galinson’s Gillingham.

“Every game counts,” said Harris. “We haven’t got the time to build over a course of three, four or five games. We have to hit the ground running on Saturday and that comes down to me on the coaching pitch. I need to get the best out of the players as quickly as I can.

“We are doing sensible business and we are doing aggressive business; huge credit to Andy Hessenthaler and Kenny Jackett for the work they are doing. We have signed players and we will carry on signing players but we’re only catching up with where a lot of teams are. We need the players to take this club forward. We are focusing on the spine of the team but we need to add players in wide areas as well.

“We couldn’t be working any harder; it’s been refreshing but there are only so many hours in a day and so many phones you can hold to your ear at the same time. What we have done so far is fantastic but to get the points total we need, from where we are, we need to keep adding to the group. It’s a major window for us.

“I have had to wait a period to be in this position, to sign players we want to attract at this football club. We are able to compete in the transfer market along with the likes of Leyton Orient, Stevenage, Stockport, Salford, Bradford, we are able to rival them in taking players of the calibre we need.

“It almost feels like a fresh start for everyone. Naturally we have seen a spring in people’s step in training. There are people looking over their shoulders, thinking if they will get a game.

"It is a nice position to be in, a privileged position to be in but we have underperformed so far and I 100% accept that, and appreciate that, it is now my job with the players we are bringing in the building to make us better. I am going to enjoy it.

“No one is losing sight of where we are in the division; we are fighting for our lives. It is a huge game on Saturday against Hartlepool who are just above us in the league. We need to close that gap and chase the teams above us. I want us to be at it on Saturday and I want to see spirit, determination and desire.

“We can’t underestimate our fans’ backing. Let’s enjoy it and play from the start. We want to be the team in ascendancy and not the team chasing. If we fight for everything on the pitch then the supporters will be with us.”

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