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Gillingham midfielder Jake Hessenthaler has impressed boss Steve Lovell this season

By Luke Cawdell

Fitness has been key to Jake Hessenthaler’s impressive form, says Gillingham boss Steve Lovell.

Hessenthaler has been a regular starter under Lovell, taking his tally of league appearances to 150, an impressive amount for a player who turns 24 next month.

Jake Hessenthaler celebrates Conor Wilkinson's equaliser at Portsmouth Picture: Ady Kerry

“Jake is improving game after game,” Lovell said. “He has grown up now from a boy to a man. He has played a lot of games for someone of his age.

“He is growing in confidence and he is much fitter and stronger than he was. From your own point of view you gain confidence if you know you can run for 90 minutes. If you are confident to do something you will do it.

“It is about having that confidence to do it for 90 minutes and having that confidence to go there and do it again and again.

Gillingham's Jake Hessenthaler has impressed boss Steve Lovell this season Picture: Andy Jones

“This is what we do in training, we put everything in when we do our runs. You do as many as you can as quickly as you can. It is no point holding back and then doing the last one quick. Do everything quick and if you are knackered on the last one so be it.”

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