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Gillingham will play Neil Harris’ Millwall at Priestfield on Saturday, July 13 – a week before welcoming fellow Championship side Watford

Neil Harris is bringing his Millwall team to Gillingham this summer.

A roller-coaster season for Harris saw him sacked by the Gills, taken on as head coach by Cambridge United before returning to Millwall and steering them clear of relegation trouble in the Championship towards the end of the season.

Neil Harris will return to Priestfield this summer with his Millwall team Picture: Simon Lankester
Neil Harris will return to Priestfield this summer with his Millwall team Picture: Simon Lankester

This summer’s friendly match will come 13 days after the Gillingham players report back for pre-season training.

Harris returned to Millwall as their head coach in February, agreeing on an 18-month deal alongside trusted assistant David Livermore and Gills’ former captain Adam Barrett.

He had previously taken Millwall to consecutive League 1 play-off finals, beating Bradford City in the second of those to take them to the Championship in 2017, establishing them back in the second tier.

Millwall’s record goalscorer went on to manage the Gills during a challenging period for the club. He was unable to save them from relegation to League 2 and then oversaw the team during a change of ownership.

With new investment, Harris rebuilt the side mid-season and led them from relegation fodder to mid-table stability in a remarkable turnaround.

Despite a positive start to the 2023/24 season, the Gills’ board felt a change was needed, citing a desire for a more flamboyant playing style.

Harris was sacked in early October but he wasn’t out of the game for long. He joined Cambridge United as their head coach two months later and on February 21 was then heading back to Millwall, guiding them to safety with some impressive results and a 13th-place finish.

Harris will now be looking to build on what they achieved in those last few months of the season at Millwall and will provide current Mark Bonner’s men with their first big challenge of the summer.

The Gills follow up the July 13 game against the Lions by hosting another Championship side, Watford, a week later before games at Ady Pennock’s Dartford, Southend United and Woking.

Bonner’s men are also set to face a behind-closed-doors friendly as part of their pre-season while mixed teams will be playing the likes of Chatham Town (Friday, July 19), Sheppey United (Friday, July 26) and Steve Lovell’s Herne Bay (Tuesday, July 30).

A Gills XI will also take on Nicky Southall’s SCEFL Premier Division Lordswood side at Martyn Grove on Tuesday, July 23 and face Hollands & Blair at Star Meadow on Tuesday, July 9.

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