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Gillingham's former winger Matt Jarvis is set to return to Priestfield this weekend after joining Walsall on loan from Norwich City

Injury may have blighted Matt Jarvis’ career in the last two and a half years, but Gillingham boss Steve Lovell will be wary of his threat this weekend.

Former Gills star Jarvis recently joined weekend opponents Walsall on loan from Norwich, and played his first league game since the end of the 2015/16 season last Saturday.

Jarvis is now set for his first competitive match at Priestfield since his last game in a Gills shirt, back in February 2007.

Matt Jarvis played over 100 games for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry
Matt Jarvis played over 100 games for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry

He left the Gills for Wolves at the end of that season and went on to join West Ham, triggering a sell-on clause that was a welcome boost to the Priestfield coffers. In 2011 he made his one and only appearance for England.

He joined Norwich in 2015 but Jarvis, now 32, has barely kicked a ball since May 2016, undergoing three operations to try and fix problems with his knee and then ankle.

It’s been quite a journey for the winger, but Lovell remembers where it all began, Jarvis having come looking for a new club after Millwall decided against offering him an apprenticeship.

Lovell recalled: “I was working with Darren Hare in the youth team. He came and was lively. I remember the first game he played at the Garrison Ground for us, he must have been 16 when he came here.

“They didn’t offer him an apprenticeship but we did. We signed him on the strength of one game. I remember him tearing the opposition apart and thinking ‘flippin’ heck, how did Millwall let him go?’.”

Jarvis made his first team debut under Andy Hessenthaler as a 17-year-old in 2003. He would go on to play more than 100 games for Gills.

“He was excellent as a kid and he most probably still is, if he is still on his game,” said Lovell.

“He played for England and you don’t get there by not being any good. He will be a threat without a doubt and it will be nice to see him.”

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