Published: 17:00, 22 June 2022
Gillingham will find out their fixtures for the 2022/23 season on Thursday morning.
The Gills have started their last two campaigns on home soil after a run of away matches in previous years and it won’t be long before fans find out the team they face in this year’s season opener.
Gillingham are back in League 2 for first time since the 2012/13 season, spending the last nine years competing in League 1 before relegation at the end of April following a home defeat to Rotherham.
New grounds to visit include Sutton United, Salford City and Harrogate Town while there is a meeting with previous manager Steve Evans’ Stevenage to look forward to and a game with old rivals Swindon Town who have a former Gills player at the helm following Scott Lindsey’s promotion to head coach.
Gillingham kicked off last season with a 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln City and with just one defeat from their last seven opening fixtures, fans will hope for another positive start to their campaign.
Seven years ago the Gills kicked off with a memorable 4-0 win over Sheffield United but it’s best not to read too much into a first game. A 5-0 win against Swindon got the 2009/10 season to a thrilling start but a 3-0 loss at Wycombe on the final day sent them down.
This season’s opening game is set to take place on Saturday, July 30. The league fixtures are announced at 9am on Thursday.
What will be unique about this season is that it takes place during a World Cup campaign. And while Premier League and Championship clubs take a break for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar between November and December, the Gills play on - assuming they don’t have three or more players on international duty.
It’s expected the EFL will avoid fixture clashes with England's group games, which take place against Iran (Monday, November 21), USA (Friday, November 25) and Wales (Tuesday, November 29).
Things could get complicated if England progress, however, with the weekend of December 3 designated for round of 16 knockout games. Runners-up in England’s group will play on the Saturday at 3pm while the winners face a Sunday night (December 4) fixture. It could mean EFL games moving to a Friday night and more rescheduling if Gareth Southgate's men go even further in the competition.
The final day of the regular EFL season will be across the weekend of May 6-7, 2023. The League 2 play-off final is scheduled for Saturday, May 27.
Fixture release day will also see the Gills find out their opponents in the Carabao Cup first round, with the draw taking place at 2.30pm.
The draw for the invited clubs taking part in the Papa Johns Trophy will also take place on Thursday. The Gills will be up against Charlton Athletic and Colchester United, along with one of eight other under-21 teams from the top of the English game.
Those eight teams are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Tottenham and West Ham. Invited clubs play their games away from home.
Prior to the season getting started, the Gills have a handful of pre-season matches to play on successive Saturdays. There was talk of a high-profile home friendly also being scheduled but there has been no word of that recently.
The games confirmed are at Isthmian League Folkestone on Saturday, July 2 and National South Dover Athletic on Saturday, July 9, a home fixture with League 1 Portsmouth on Saturday, July 16 and National League Southend United away on Saturday, July 23.