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Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence on striker Josh Andrews and his expected return to football from injury

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence says he’s prepared to rush striker Josh Andrews into action if needed.

Andrews, 22, was one of the players signed in the January transfer window to try and fix the goalscoring issues at the club but one injury was followed by another and he’s yet to feature.

Josh Andrews could be ready for action at the end of the month Picture: @Julian_KPI
Josh Andrews could be ready for action at the end of the month Picture: @Julian_KPI

It’s crunch time now for the Gills with just seven games left to try and make the play-offs. Goals are still a problem and with fellow winter recruit Jorge Hurtado possibly out for the season - Clemence is in need of extra attacking options.

He said: “I don’t envisage him being ready until the end of the month but he’s looking a lot stronger, he was on track but it has been unfortunate for the boy, we need him back.

“We have been really unlucky with Josh, he should have been back a lot quicker, but we have to accept it and it is good he is back on the grass and in the coming days and weeks we will assess whether we push him on a bit quicker or whether we can afford to hold him back.”

The Gills head to Harrogate on April 1 after playing Crewe at home on March 29, games where Andrews could feature from the bench. Standing at around 6ft 5in tall, the forward may still take some time to reach peak match fitness.

Clemence said: “I might have to try and rush that through and there might have to be an element of risk in doing it a little quicker, but I also have to make sure we don’t have to do any long-term damage to Josh, because his health is the most important and we want him right for the club going forward.

“We have to see how that goes day by day now, he is back on the grass, which is good, he has trained with the B Team group and we will see what happens in the next week or so.”

The Gills offloaded Tom Nichols and Macauley Bonne to make way for the new signings but those injuries have meant the plan’s backfired.

Goals remain an issue with a decent second half against Tranmere and plenty of chances at the weekend against Grimsby passing by without a win after missed chances cost them.

Creating hasn’t been an issue. The Gills have managed 39 shots at goal in the last two home games but drawn both matches 1-1.

Clemence admitted: “We’ve been dealt an unlucky hand because we let a couple of players go and the ones we have brought in haven’t been on the grass enough, but it is what it is, I have to work with what I have got in front of me and still try and get results.

“We have been really unfortunate with Josh because we knew when he came in he wasn’t fit to play then (after a hip injury on loan at Accrington) but we thought he would be back pretty quickly, unfortunately, he had a setback to the injury and he has been out a lot longer than we had hoped for.

“You have got to try and find solutions. Defensively we have been pretty good all season and we’ve had to rely on that because we know we don’t score many goals.”

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