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Gillingham assistant manager Anthony Hayes wants exciting football to be played at Priestfield next season after joining Mark Bonner’s coaching team

Gillingham’s new assistant manager has outlined how he wants the team to play next season.

Anthony Hayes has joined the Gills as Mark Bonner’s new no.2 and is keen to see the club play an attacking brand of football in League Two.

Gillingham's assistant manager Anthony Hayes spent over seven years at Charlton Athletic
Gillingham's assistant manager Anthony Hayes spent over seven years at Charlton Athletic

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Describing how he likes the game to be played, he said: “I want to play attacking, front-foot based football, that excites the people that we are serving.

“Ultimately, we’re serving the fans, so hopefully it is exciting for them to watch and hopefully for the players it is enjoyable to play in.”

Bonner has said himself he wants a team that “everyone loves watching.”

Hayes left his role as first-team coach at Championship side Sunderland for a chance to assist Bonner at the Gills.

Moving from his native Ireland in 2011, Hayes had previously spent five and a half years at Brentford and then had over seven years at Charlton where he progressed from their academy to the first team, even having a spell there as caretaker manager.

Commenting on his departure from Sunderland, where he had initially joined in February to assist interim boss Mike Dodds, he said: “The Sunderland opportunity came out of nothing really, it’s a brilliant club and I had a wonderful experience there but I spoke to Mark a couple of weeks before the season ended (in the Championship) and I was really excited about the discussions I had with him, the ambitions of the club and what that looked like for myself.

“I am looking forward to calling this place home for the next couple of years.”

Hayes was put in caretaker charge at Charlton in December after they sacked Ben Garner.

He continued to work with the first team under Dean Holden once he’d been appointed but didn’t get that opportunity under Michael Appleton and he left in October last year.

It’s a new opportunity now for the 37-year-old.

“I’m really excited, delighted to be here and looking forward to the challenge ahead,” he told the club.

“I had a brilliant time at Charlton with lots of good people. It ended probably not the way I wanted it to but then there was an opportunity to join Sunderland in early February and I have got to work in youth development.

“I have a real history of bringing young players through and improving and developing them but I also have coached in league 1, had a brief stint as caretaker at Charlton.

“I have also had three months in the Championship, a varied experience and hopefully there is plenty that I can add to the management team here as well as the group of players.”

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