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Gillingham hope to make it past the FA Cup opening round stage for the first time in five years

Jake Hessenthaler and the Gills are determined to find some happiness in the FA Cup this weekend.

It’s been a torrid few years for the club in the national competition, exiting at the first round stage in the last four years, twice to non-league Brackley Town.

Another non-league side make the trip to Priestfield this Saturday, in National League side Leyton Orient, but they’re facing a Gills side in buoyant mood.

Jake Hessenthaler in action against Portsmouth Picture: Andy Jones
Jake Hessenthaler in action against Portsmouth Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham beat League 1 big-boys Rotherham away last weekend and Hessenthaler is one of those loving life under caretaker boss Steve Lovell.

Hessenthaler said: “It is the most I have enjoyed my football for a long, long time.

“It has been a roller-coaster season but for me personally and the team hopefully we have started to turn that corner.

“I have the bit between my teeth and I am starting to express myself. I have to give credit to Steve, because he has given us the licence to express ourselves and enjoy it.

“All the boys were buzzing off the Rotherham performance and to get the win was amazing

“Maybe we don’t want a break in the league but it’s nice to be on a high. Hopefully now we can get a bit of luck in the FA Cup, which I haven’t seen a lot of since I have been in the first team. Hopefully this may be a different year.

“I’ve scored in the FA Cup and that was about my only highlight but that was against Brackley and we lost. I would like to get a few more highlights in the FA Cup.”

Read more from Jake in Thursday's Medway Messenger newspaper.

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