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Gillingham keeper Stuart Nelson says club must prepare to face quality strikers on a weekly basis if they are promoted

Goalkeeper Stuart Nelson hopes Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Port Vale will serve as an important lesson for Gillingham ahead of big tests to come.

The Gills are chasing a place in League 1 and that means coming up against strikers of the class Port Vale had on display on a regular basis.

Vale started the match with League 2’s top scorer Tom Pope and new signing Lee Hughes – a regular finisher in the division above – in their line-up. Both were on target.

Nelson, pictured, said: "They had two opportunities and scored from them.

"Pope is a dangerous player and we didn’t deal with him properly early on as we did do for the rest of the game.

"If we are to go to the next level, that is what happens. If you give good players an opportunity, they will punish you."

Nelson added: "We have to get back to it. You are not going to win every game of the season and we know what we have to do.

"Over the season, there haven’t been many of those little mistakes. That’s why we are where we are."

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