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Gillingham need more from on-loan QPR striker Charlie Kelman as Paul Raynor looks to January transfer window


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Charlie Kelman was the first player hooked in Gillingham’s EFL Trophy defeat on a night Paul Raynor hinted at changes in the January transfer window.

Kelman has struggled to make an impact since arriving on loan from QPR and was taken off at half-time after an ineffective 45 minutes.

Charlie Kelman was taken off at half-time against West Ham under-21s Picture: Andy Jones
Charlie Kelman was taken off at half-time against West Ham under-21s Picture: Andy Jones

He was one of several Gills fringe men who failed to impress the management against West Ham under-21s.

Assistant boss Raynor said: “We’ve watched him with interest at QPR with his development and firstly at Southend, and he was busy and a goal-threat.

“We’ve not really seen that. His hold-up play’s not been particularly good, he hasn’t been getting around V (Vadaine Oliver) when V flicks things on, he’s sort of nearly been getting on the end of things.

“It’s been a lot of nearly performances where he’s done OK but he’s never really thrust himself into the limelight, so he’s done OK but doing OK hasn’t forced himself into the team so it’s a disappointment.

“I’m sure it’s a disappointment for Charlie, I’m sure it’s a disappointment for QPR because they don’t send their players not for them to play.

“They’ll be disappointed he’s not forced his way in but we have to be honest, if his performances don’t deserve a starting place, they won’t get one, it’s as simple as that, no matter where you come from.”

Gills used last January to good effect and Raynor added: “Hopefully we won’t be shy in making some changes. We have to.

“If things aren’t working we’re not going to keep doing the same old things, we have to freshen it up and we have to get better.

“We’ve done it consistently wherever we’ve been, we’ve chopped and changed and we’ve got it right and we’ll continue to do that and we’ll get it right again.”

Olly Lee and Ben Reeves were handed chances against West Ham under-21s in the EFL Trophy Picture: Andy Jones
Olly Lee and Ben Reeves were handed chances against West Ham under-21s in the EFL Trophy Picture: Andy Jones

Kelman cut a frustrated figure before his half-time substitution at Priestfield.

It was a bad night for several players looking to force their way into the starting XI in League 1.

Olly Lee, Ben Reeves and Dan Adshead were given opportunities to impress in midfield among six Gillingham changes from the 2-2 draw at Bolton.

Those fighting to get a regular shirt need to up their game, with the January window looming.

“You’ve got to be honest, haven’t you?" said Raynor.

“They’ve got to perform in training, you’ve got to see them as the answer to make a difference in the team and, to be fair, some of them have been training well.

“We’ve said to them, as soon as you get an opportunity to come on the pitch in a game, whether you’re a substitute or playing 90 minutes in a game like this, you’ve got grasp that opportunity to show us you should make a difference in the team.

“Unfortunately they’ve not done that against Ipswich (earlier group game), they didn’t really do that again tonight, so some of them are going to have to wait a little bit longer.

“If they get an opportunity through an injury or we change shape, or something like, they’re going to have to grasp it very quickly because January’s coming and we can’t carry any dead weight in this squad, we’re very light on numbers anyway so everybody has to play a part.”

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