Published: 12:50, 19 August 2020
| Updated: 12:53, 19 August 2020
Paul Raynor praised new signing Kyle Dempsey after Gillingham’s friendly win at Watford - describing his arrival as a real statement.
Dempsey made his first appearance in a 3-1 victory at the Hornets’ training ground yesterday and assistant boss Raynor believes he’s exactly what the Gills need.
“He’s got creativity, something that we felt we needed from last year,” said Raynor, who worked with the former Fleetwood midfielder at Peterborough.
“We were very workmanlike, hard to beat last year but probably drew too many games, so we needed a little bit more creativity in the middle of the park, allied to that work ethic.
“We think Kyle will bring us both that and the creativity and chip in with a few as well.
“He’s a leader, he’s a winner, he’s a good talker, so we’re delighted to have him on board.
“I know the qualities he’s got, he’s been a top performer in League 1 for a number of seasons and in the Championship with Huddersfield prior to that so he’s given everybody a real lift.
“It’s a real statement and we haven’t finished.
“We’re going to try and get the chairman to open his chequebook a little bit more and make some more signings.
“We’re a little bit thin on the ground in numbers at the moment, as you can expect, but we’ve utilised some of the younger boys as well today.”
Jordan Graham gave Gillingham a seventh-minute lead after John Akinde drove forward and teed him up.
Watford levelled on 14 minutes but the Gills went back in front on 34 minutes when Akinde won the ball and found Callum Willock, who took a touch and beat the keeper.
After two assists, Akinde added the third a minute before the break after Graham beat his man out wide.
Raynor said: “It was a good workout against good quality opposition but I felt we were full value in the end for a 3-1 victory.
"It was a generally good team performance.
“First 10 minutes I thought we were a little bit sloppy, allowed Watford too much time on the ball and when you do that against technically gifted players they’ll cause you problems.
“Once we ironed that out and changed a few things and got us a little bit higher up the pitch, to affect the ball a little bit more, we got on top of them and punished them.”
Gillingham: Bonham (Walsh 60mins), Jackson (Woods 46mins), Tucker (Medhurst 73mins), Medley (Baker 46mins), Ogilvie, MacDonald (O'Keefe 46mins), Willock (Lintott 53mins), Dempsey (Coyle 46mins), Graham, Hanlan (Mellis 46mins), Akinde (Baker-Moran 70mins).