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Injury and illness have blighted Charlie Lee’s last two months but he has remained a regular fixture in the Gills dressing room.
Lee (pictured) has travelled with the team to away games throughout his time out injured as manager Martin Allen has sought to keep him involved.
It is something Lee has appreciated, even if it has meant some of his team-mates aiming some light-hearted abuse in his direction.
“The gaffer tried to keep me involved and I had to take notes on the bench. It was good, even though the boys were taking the mickey out of me,” said 25-year-old Lee.
“It was tough being out but the gaffer took me to most of the games and I have been involved. It was weird because it felt like I was part of the team and then I realised that I hadn’t played.”
Lee has been hit by illness in recent weeks, following a knee injury that he took a month to recover from, but it wasn’t enough to wipe his smile away.
He added: “It has been a brilliant season so far and I am just gutted that I had the injury that kept me out for a bit because I was loving it.
“It’s good to be back involved with training. I was struggling a bit at first, though, because the tempo is so high, it is real hard to get back!”
Lee hasn’t played 90 minutes since the 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers on September 15, in a game where he was on the scoresheet.
He limped off in the following game, against Southend, and missed the next seven through injury. A brief appearance came at AFC Wimbledon and he then came off the bench to help turn the game against Scunthorpe in the FA Cup, as the Gills again won 4-0.
He was due to start in the home game against Cheltenham last Tuesday but pulled out through illness. He returned on Saturday, at Plymouth, but was taken off at half-time.
“I thought I was ready and the gaffer did as well, and he put me back in," said Lee.
"But with the pace of the game, it just brought the illness back up and I was struggling. I was spluttering and coughing during the game and then at half-time I just couldn’t get my breath."
Lee had Sunday and Monday to recover, before taking part in a light training session and followed that up with a second half appearance for Gills’ development side on Tuesday.
Read more from Charlie Lee in Friday's Medway Messenger newspaper.
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