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No mixed emotions as Gillingham's Gabriel Zakuani takes on former club Peterborough

By Luke Cawdell

Friendships will be out the window on Saturday when Gabriel Zakuani returns to the club he calls home.

The defender spent seven years at Peterborough and refers to their manager Grant McCann as a friend.

Zakuani, who played for United in two spells between 2009 and 2016, makes a timely return from international duty to bolster Gills’ threadbare defence.

Gabriel Zakuani is hoping for a happy return to former club Peterborough Picture Andy Payton

Gabriel Zakuani is hoping for a happy return to former club Peterborough Picture: Andy Payton

Despite his fondness of the Posh, there will only be one thing on his mind on Saturday.

He said: “In football, you represent who you are playing for on the day, you aim to get what you can for yourself and the team.

“Once the adrenalin goes, you can get back to normal but on the day it is all about the result.

“Peterborough has been my home for a long time. I was close to the fans and the community. It is a place I call home but on Saturday, for 90 minutes, it definitely won’t be home. The main thing is to try and get a result.

“I know (Grant McCann) well and I spoke to him the other day because one of his mates wanted a Gillingham ticket, his mate lives around here and is a fan.

“He is more of a friend than anything else. But on Saturday that friendship is out the window, I won’t speak to him on the day. If we get a result I will be calling him afterwards!”

Zakuani clearly enjoyed his time there but knows that those in the stands will be backing their team too when the game kicks off.

He said: “I am sure if I get some boos it will be friendly natured, I can’t see it being malicious because I know what the fans are like there.

“I played there for Northampton last season but that was a lot different because they are rivals.

“I did get a few jeers here and there but with the success I have had there over the years, I am sure I should get a good reception.”

Read the full interview in this week's Medway Messenger.

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