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Gillingham set to move their Checkatrade Trophy match to Charlton Athletic's Valley ground

Gillingham plan to move their home Checkatrade Trophy match against Tottenham to The Valley, home of rivals Charlton Athletic.

The switch is subject to approval from the Football League.

The Gills were forced to move the game against Tottenham’s under-21s after deciding to replace the Priestfield pitch, on safety grounds.

Gills manager Steve Lovell is set to take his side for a home game at Charlton Athletic Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gills manager Steve Lovell is set to take his side for a home game at Charlton Athletic Picture: Barry Goodwin

Chairman Paul Scally has earmarked close to £500,000 for pitch repairs - having declared the old surface as dangerous - with the club installing a new hybrid surface at the stadium, with work already underway.

Competition regulations stipulated that the Gills had to play the game at a Football League ground but teams invited into the Trophy, like Tottenham, have to play their games away, ruling out a match at Wembley. Spurs have yet to move into their own newly built stadium.

Work takes place at Priestfield on Monday, removing the pitch
Work takes place at Priestfield on Monday, removing the pitch

The game at Charlton will take place on Tuesday, October 9.

A club statement said: "The club is pleased to confirm, subject to EFL board approval, that our Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Tottenham Hotspur U21 will be played at The Valley.

"Due to the work being carried out on the pitch at Priestfield, and no other date available, the match has to be played at another ground and we are grateful to Charlton Athletic for agreeing to host the game."

Gillingham have also moved their midweek league game against Blackpool and that game will be played on Tuesday, November 6. The new pitch at Priestfield is expected to be in place ahead of the visit of Southend on Saturday, October 13.

Gillingham are set to stage a home game at Charlton Athletic Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham are set to stage a home game at Charlton Athletic Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham released a statement last Saturday, informing the fans of their decision, with Mr Scally saying: “As a result of concerns, which were apparent after the Burton, and subsequent home games, to do with the playing surface we called in professional advisors who, having gathered test analysis, came to the conclusion that the only way we could solve the problem was to completely replace the pitch.

“We have now found an appropriate pitch, which will be a hybrid pitch, that is to say a pitch that is partly plastic and part grass, and the whole job is going to cost in the region of £450,000.

“Whilst there are many things we could do with that money, it is quite clear that the pitch has to be replaced as it is affecting our performance and is actually becoming dangerous to play on.

Gillingham FC's pitch being removed, work started on Monday
Gillingham FC's pitch being removed, work started on Monday

“Given the time of season, obviously between games, we have to go with a hybrid pitch. There is one available in this country, which we have secured, and the cost has to be paid this month.

“The upside is that we will get a fantastic playing surface which will be ready and available for our fixture against Southend on Saturday, October 13.

“We will update supporters on the progress. At the same time as taking up the pitch we intend to do the drainage and the irrigation system so we will have a pitch that we will know will give

us a good number of years as a top quality surface.

“Apologies to fans for the inconvenience insofar as the change of fixtures is concerned, but this is unavoidable and is in the best interest of the club and indeed the team going forward.”


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