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Jake Hessenthaler is aiming to build on a successful first season at Gillingham when the new season starts

By Luke Cawdell
Jake Hessenthaler ready for action against Oldham Picture: Barry Goodwin

Jake Hessenthaler was a mascot when Peter Taylor last led the Gills to promotion.

Next season he’ll be trying to emulate those glory days – 14 years after leading the side out at Wembley.

“I remember bits and bobs of that day and I remember the occasion,” said the 20-year-old, who was six at the time the Gills won the 2000 play-offs against Wigan Athletic.

“I want to be a part of occasions like that again for this club.

Jake Hessenthaler in midfield action for Gills against Shrewsbury last season Picture: Barry Goodwin

“It’s been a fantastic year for myself and as a club and a team we are going to look to build on that.

“It is great for the club that Peter Taylor is staying on. He gave me my debut and so it is all positive.

“I am looking forward to working with him next season and hopefully with him in charge we can look to push on up the table.

“I don’t think we need a lot of rebuilding. We have great spirit at this club, so we just need to tune a few things.”

Jake Hessenthaler celebrates his goal against Coventry City Picture: Barry Goodwin

Hessenthaler was nowhere near the first team before Taylor arrived in October. His debut followed in November.

He said: “It has been such a turnaround and I would have never been expecting to pick up any awards at the end of the season.

“I was ecstatic to have picked up two (for young player and best goal). It was a great feeling.”

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