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Hessenthaler in experimental mood

MAMADY SIDIBE: lone role up front
MAMADY SIDIBE: lone role up front

GILLINGHAM'S shortage of strikers could see the introduction of an experimental 4-5-1 formation at Burnley on Saturday.

Player-manager Andy Hessenthaler, who is without the injured Rod Wallace, Tommy Johnson and Marlon King, is ready to flood the midfield and leave Mamady Sidibe to forage alone up front.

Hessenthaler, whose side have not won in their last five games, is determined to extract something from the game to stop the club going into end-of-season freefall after slipping to 13th with last weekend's defeat by Walsall.

Skipper Paul Smith, whose run of 129 consecutive appearances ended with his withdrawal from Saturday's side against Walsall, returns to bolster the midfield.

Smith received special dispensation to miss the Walsall match to be with his wife Louise at the birth of their second daughter. But his inclusion is not likely to affect the selection of youngster Danny Spiller who impressed on his full debut on Saturday.

Spiller will join Smith in a five-man midfield comprising Nicky Southall, Simon Osborn and Paul Shaw. Hessenthaler, who has missed the last five games through a hamstring strain, looks certain to be on the bench.

Gillingham return to Priestfield on Monday to face Bradford City.

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