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Portsmouth loan defender Haji Mnoga sorry for red card on Gillingham debut against Swindon Town at Priestfield

Gillingham loan defender Haji Mnoga apologised to his team-mates after Saturday’s red card.

Mnoga received two early bookings, both for fouls, leaving the Gills to play against Swindon Town with 10 men for over 80 minutes. Harris’ men dug in and drew 0-0.

Haji Mnoga heads to the changing rooms after his 10th-minute sending off for two bookable offences. Picture: KPI
Haji Mnoga heads to the changing rooms after his 10th-minute sending off for two bookable offences. Picture: KPI

It was Mnoga’s debut but hopes of making a positive impact quickly evaporated. Harris wasn’t interested in the apology and just hopes the 20-year-old is a quick learner.

Harris said: “He apologised at the time, he apologised afterwards, I am not interested in apologies, it is about him learning.

“He is a young man who we took because Portsmouth believe in him and I have seen him, I know how good he is going to be, he is going to be a very good player.

“But he has to learn fast. I haven’t got time for players to make errors like that.”

Gillingham had made an impressive start in the opening minutes with 11 men, pressing Swindon into conceding possession on several occasions and looking good to end their six-game run without a goal.

But Mnoga was already in the book for a sixth-minute trip on Ben Gladwin and four minutes later he then took out Jacob Wakeling as the visitors looked to make a break away. The young defender could have little complaint with either caution.

Despite the set-back the Gills soaked up Swindon’s pressure for the rest of the game and were worthy of the point, having chances to take all three.

Harris said: “We got away with it because players dug him out of a hole, that is what a good team does, he has to learn from it, that is all I have said to him, he has to learn and he will do.”

Mnoga started the match at right-back and it was left to winger Hakeeb Adelakun to take over that role, something he excelled at.

Harris said: “To go in at right-back against a team that dominate on the ball, to put in that performance, fair play to him.

“Straight away you think, ‘we have lost a defender so who do we put on?’ We decided to put Hakeeb to full-back to give us a foothold and he got better and better so I didn’t have to make that sub for so long.”

Mnoga, who only signed on Thursday, agreeing a season-long loan from League 1 Portsmouth, will now be suspended for Saturday’s trip to Crawley Town.

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