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Dover Athletic ready to welcome Martin Allen's Gillingham to Crabble

Dover win at Gillingham
Dover win at Gillingham

Adam Birchall and Dover celebrate at Priestfield Picture: Barry Goodwin

by Luke Cawdell

Former Dover players Adam Birchall and Ashley Miller are expected to lead Gillingham’s attack in the pre-season friendly at Crabble on Tuesday night.

Birchall hasn’t played 90 minutes since leaving Dover a year ago. He had scored 45 goals for his former club in his last season there and is well on the way to a full recovery from an injury that kept him out last season.

He is set to partner Miller, who played for the Dover side’s youth team at various age groups before joining the Gillingham academy. Miller has since signed a pro deal with the League 2 club.

Tuesday night’s meeting will be the first since the FA Cup match at Priestfield in 2010, where a goal from Birchall helped Dover to a memorable 2-0 win over Andy Hessenthaler’s Gillingham. Ex-Dover boss Hessenthaler is now director of football with the Gills.

Former Dover player Matt Fish is unlikely to feature, while Ross Flitney is definitely unavailable due to injury.

The Gills beat Ebbsfleet 3-2 on Saturday but it’s all-change for Tuesday’s match at Dover.

Gills boss Martin Allen said: "It was an outstanding first half performance (at Ebbsfleet) and a very good 15 minutes in the middle of the second half.

"It was a particularity impressive afternoon against not a bad side and full credit to the players. They have taken onboard what we want to do and now we are taking a different team down to Dover.

"There will be players playing 90 minutes and we have some of our youth players as substitutes. All the lads who played at Ebbsfleet on Saturday have got to travel to watch the match and so everyone is travelling, even though some aren’t even subs. They have to go."

Tommy Forecast will start in goal for the Gills, behind a defence containing two French trialists. Former Auxerre player Bernard Onanga Itoua will play in central defence alongside Connor Essam, while another Frenchman will line up at right-back. Andy Frampton will play left-back.

Former Gills player Nicky Forster saw his team lose 2-1 to Dagenham on Saturday. Kick-off 7.45pm.

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