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Gillingham's defensive cover running low for Portsmouth clash

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham are down to the bare bones defensively.

Experienced centre-back Gabriel Zakuani will miss the visit of Portsmouth on Sunday after being called up for international duty.

Zakuani will be involved in DR Congo’s World Cup qualifier against Libya on Saturday.

Gabriel Zakuani, left, is on World Cup qualifying duty this weekend Picture Andy Payton

Gabriel Zakuani, left, is on World Cup qualifying duty this weekend Picture: Andy Payton

The Gills are already without injured defensive pair Luke O’Neill (hamstring) and Alex Lacey (ankle).

“I was nervous (on Tuesday),” admitted Gillingham caretaker-boss Peter Taylor.

“If we got another injury to another defender, we would have been really struggling. We just about have enough.”

Taylor handed young professional Finn O’Mara his first start on Tuesday night and called up scholar Jack Tucker to the squad as cover.

“We could do with everyone available,” Taylor said.

“We are without four or five and that is frustrating for us because we need the best players available to compete against good League 1 teams.”

Gills should have left-back Bradley Garmston and midfielder Scott Wagstaff back soon, although they are doubtful for this weekend.

Taylor said: “They are doing well but I think Sunday is a bit too early.

“We are being careful with Bradley. He is a great athlete and we could do with others like that.”

Striker Tom Eaves misses the game through suspension, as does consistent performer Mark Byrne.

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