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Gillingham draw a blank in talks with former Wycombe Wanderers forward Jon-Paul Pittman after he joins Oxford United

Andy Hessenthaler against Northampton
Andy Hessenthaler against Northampton

Andy Hessenthaler has revealed that the club were in the hunt for former Wycombe forward Jon-Paul Pittman.

The pacey American-born forward was out of contract at Wycombe but elected to join Gills’ League 2 rivals Oxford instead.

Gills boss Hessenthaler (pictured) is searching high and low to increase his strike power ahead of next season and held talks with Pittman last week.

He knows recruiting high quality talent isn’t going to be easy though.

Hessenthaler said: "We had him (Pittman) in for a chat but he lives 15 minutes away from Oxford so it was always going to be difficult to get him here.

"We are talking to a number of players.

"It’s not going to be easy and the budget has been cut. The chairman has been honest and said it is not what it was last year.

"We have got to find players and be realistic with the budget that we’ve got.

"We have got to work hard to bring players in. We are trying to do it but quite a bit of our budget has been taken up anyway with existing players."

One player who was rumoured to be interesting the Gills is Hayes & Yeading’s attacking midfielder Bradley Pritchard, who spent several days training with the club last season.

"He can score goals from midfield and he did okay," said the Gills boss. "We had a look at him but whether we go any further with it we are not sure."

Hessenthaler will take a number of players on trial during pre-season, which looks set to include a home match against Leyton Orient.

The O’s, who play in League 1, confirmed the fixture, on Tuesday, July 19 on their website before the weekend.

More games are set to be added in the coming days and there is also the likelihood of the players attending a training camp abroad.

Pre-season so far - Tue July 12: Erith & Belvedere (a), Fri July 15: Dartford (a), Tue July 19: Leyton Orient (h), Sat July 23: Millwall (h), Mon July 25: Hampton & Richmond (a), Wed July 27: Welling (a), Sat July 30: Ebbsfleet (a).

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