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Andy Hessenthaler returns focus to League 2 promotion after FA Cup defeat to Stoke City

Andy Hessenthaler
Andy Hessenthaler

Promotion from League 2 is back on the agenda after Gillingham’s FA Cup run came to an end on Saturday.

A 3-1 defeat to Premier League Stoke in the third round of the cup leaves them able to focus on the number one priority.

The players return to training on Monday and all thoughts will be turned towards getting out of the Football League’s basement division.

Boss Andy Hessenthaler (pictured) hopes the FA Cup experience will help them in their pursuit of league glory.

He said: "We have had some great cup runs over the years and we haven’t disgraced ourselves against another Premier League team.

"We should take lots of confidence from Saturday’s performance. We will come back down to earth and get ready for our league programme at Shrewsbury (on Saturday) which is a massive game for us.

"We know what our aim is this season and if we keep showing that commitment and desire and all the stuff that goes with a game of football, adding in a bit more quality, then we will be where we want to be."

The Gills are targeting a top three spot but face a big challenge. They are eight points off the automatic promotion places.

"The challenge is on," said Hessenthaler. "We still have to play Southend, Cheltenham and Crawley (the top three clubs)."

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