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Gills shock as Patterson seeks transfer

MARK PATTERSON has stunned Gillingham with a transfer request in a bid to get his career back on track. Patterson, 33, asked for his name to be circulated in an effort to find first team football elsewhere.

Though he started the season as first choice in the right wing-back position, he found himself on the fringe of the first team after losing his place in November to Nyron Nosworthy. Since signing from Plymouth for a tribunal fixed £45,000 in October, 1997 Patterson has made 128 appearances, including 16 starts this season.

With his commitment and strength of character, supporters took him to their hearts, especially when he fought his way back from a broken leg, sustained after making a spectacular goalline clearance against arch-rivals Millwall in the 1999-2000 season.

He has also proved versatile with his ability to play in either of the wing-back positions or midfield and is rated Gillingham's best man-for-man marker. Though he has another season of his contract to run, Patterson has impressed on player-manager Andy Hessenthaler that he needs regular first team football.

Patterson, wife Fiona and young son Brannan have become well settled in the Ashford area but a close family friend said: "Mark thought long and hard about this. "It's certainly not a knee-jerk reaction. He doesn't want to leave Gillingham but at this stage in his career he needs to be in the first team."

Patterson joins near neighbour Mark Saunders on the transfer list. Saunders, who like Patterson, arrived from Plymouth, has been linked with a move to Sheffield United.

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