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Portsmouth v Gillingham EFL Trophy preview | Interim manager Keith Millen looks ahead to Fratton Park visit in group stage match

Gillingham may need to raid the B Team for their EFL Trophy match at Portsmouth tonight.

The Gills had two of their young pros on the bench for Saturday’s match in League 2 against MK Dons and lost striker Ashley Nadesan to an ankle injury that day. There’s a handful of other senior players who are recovering from injury.

Interim boss Keith Millen remains in charge for Gillingham’s midweek EFL Trophy match Picture: @Julian_KPI
Interim boss Keith Millen remains in charge for Gillingham’s midweek EFL Trophy match Picture: @Julian_KPI

Interim boss Keith Millen was taking the B Team training sessions before being asked to fill in as first-team manager, following the dismissal of Neil Harris, so won’t have any issues with involving the best of that group for their Trophy game at Pompey.

Gillingham will qualify for the next round with a win on Tuesday night but that won’t be high on anyone’s priority list. There won’t be any risks on players ahead of a trip to Walsall at the weekend in the league.

Looking ahead to their midweek Trophy match, Millen said: “Tuesday is important, we have won one from three and we probably need to win two of three to go through.

“We have to look at the bigger picture as well with Walsall away on Saturday.

“We have a lot of injuries, a lot of tired legs, but when you have won and you come in on Monday you are in a lot better mood.

“It was good to have some of the B Team boys on the bench (at the weekend) and this might be their opportunity in the first team because they have been pretty good in the B team.

“It might be their opportunity to show what they can do at first team level.”

Striker Ronald Sithole and attacking midfielder Matty Macarthur were both unused subs at the weekend. Striker Joe Gbode, a regular reserve, is on loan at Maidstone United.

The Gills have a number of injuries with Shaun Williams, George Lapslie and Jonny Williams missing at the weekend, along with longer-term absentees Tim Dieng and Oli Hawkins.

Striker Lewis Walker joined Woking on loan recently, making a goalscoring debut off the bench, but was back in the stands watching Gillingham on Saturday after one substitute appearance for the National League side.

First team players in need of minutes for the Gills include Max Ehmer, Max Clark, Robbie McKenzie and Jayden Clarke.

While the EFL Trophy isn’t top of the agenda, Millen said: “It is the next game to win, that is always the way I look at it.

“Yes, we will think about Walsall, yes we will think about the injuries and tired legs, lots to consider when you pick a team.”

Gillingham’s Trophy opponents Portsmouth are top of League 1 and unbeaten in all competitions.

Their opening game in the EFL Trophy against Fulham’s under-21s ended in a 3-3 draw, bagging an additional point in the group stage thanks to a penalty shootout win.

Gillingham’s first game in the competition ended in a 2-1 win against another League 1 side, Leyton Orient.

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