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Ben Pringle started at troubled Bolton Wanderers and has been in and out of the team at Gillingham before the coronavirus crisis but halted the season

The coronavirus crisis has turned the 2019/20 season into chaos but it had been pretty messy already for Gillingham midfielder Ben Pringle.

He was at Bolton in the summer, watching up close as the club battled for survival, before ending up at the Gills to work under former boss Steve Evans in September.

Ben Pringle in action for the Gills against Doncaster Rovers Picture: Ady Kerry
Ben Pringle in action for the Gills against Doncaster Rovers Picture: Ady Kerry

“It has been mental this season,” said the 30-year-old.

“I came in late, played straight away at Tranmere and had a few games, then had a period where I didn’t play for a while.

“It was a mental week in November before our baby boy was born, there was the sending off at Wimbledon, suspended, not playing, playing, not playing, then this happens at the end of it! It has been mad, to say the least.”

Pringle admitted it’s been a frustrating spell too, starting six league games since joining.

“It is about being a bit more patient, which I have had to do now in the latter stage of my career,” he said.

The midfielder has had to get used to that new kind of mindset during his stint at the Gills. The last time he worked under Evans was at Rotherham, playing a key role in getting them promoted from League 2 to the Championship in successive campaigns.

Pringle went onto join Fulham and remained in the Championship at Preston before loan spells at Oldham, Grimsby and Tranmere – who he helped to a play-off final win last season in League 2 – before a pre-season at Bolton.

He said: “At Rotherham I was one of about eight or nine who would play every week and then you would see the other lads not playing and I remember at the time thinking it must be so frustrating for them and now I am one of those lads.

“It is frustrating but I have had to get my head around it. I can’t be expected to play every game. It is what it is. I still want to play and I am ready whenever the gaffer wants me.”

Now he is no longer top dog in the side, Pringle admits he can’t get away with things he used to.

He said: “I am the worst at being patient and he (Evans) will tell you that himself. We used to argue all the time about different bits and bobs but the main thing is I was always playing.

“I think it would have been a lot different back then if I hadn’t played so much. I used to get away with absolute murder with the gaffer at Rotherham but I would play every week so I knew I could get away with most things, to a certain extent. If I did any of that now it would be my Gillingham career over! It is a different approach now that I am older.”

Pringle is one of many on a deal that is set to expire at the end of this season. Most professional contracts will run until the end of June.

Should the season be completed, it’s likely to go on beyond that date, but Pringle has no issue with staying on and completing the job.

He said: “I speak for most of the lads in saying I just want to get this season done and whether your contract is up or not, you still want to finish the season. I guess that is the way it is for now.

“We have to get this season done and out of the way and see what happens after that.

“I don’t know what will happen (with the contract), it is something they will have to discuss. I read the other day that there are more than 2,000 players out of contract at the end of the season so I don’t know if they will extend them month by month, I don’t know how it is going to play out.”

For now, Pringle is enjoying the bonus of seeing more of his new born but admits his partner may now be seeing less of him after investing in a bike.

That arrived on Monday and he’ll be hitting the roads around where he lives in Manchester to stay on top of his fitness.

He said: “There are some decent places to run and go on the bike, where I live and I have been tearing around on that, seeing how far I can get.

“You just have to look after yourself and be ready for whenever we are back in.”

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