Published: 00:00, 08 February 2018
Tom Hadler has been propelled back into the limelight at Gillingham.
The recent departures of senior keepers Steve Arnold and Stuart Nelson – terminating his contract last week – mean Hadler is now back-up to no.1 keeper Tomas Holy.
Hadler was on the bench at Wigan last weekend and is ready for whenever the opportunity comes.
The young keeper said: “It is always sad to see people leave, especially someone like Nels, who I worked very closely with during my whole time at Gillingham.
“He has been a constant for me, supported me and did everything he could to help. It is strange that he is not around now.
“I wish him all the best, he is a top fella, but now it is time for me to step in and fill that void.
“As a goalkeeper, it is a long process, you don’t often get chucked in and having had Nels here he has always been that stalwart, he very rarely missed games, so the opportunity has been limited.
“I feel I have had good experience out on loan, wherever I have gone and have left a good impression, it is just about being patient and not getting frustrated because it will come, it is just about being ready when it does.”
Hadler has recently come back from a half-season loan at National League, South side Gloucester City.
He made a big impact at the club, with City manager Marc Richards praising the attitude of the 21-year-old, on and off the pitch.
Richards said: “He is a brilliant goalkeeper and has a very bright future. He has been great for us this season but more importantly, he is a really respectful, genuine and honest young man and he will be tough to replace.”
Hadler said: “Playing on a Saturday gives you that buzz, especially when you do well. I enjoyed it.
“They looked after me brilliantly and I played 20-odd games, it was invaluable experience. It ended on a high New Year’s Day, so it was good.”
Read more from Tom in this Thursday's Medway Messenger newspaper.
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