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Bradley Stevenson impressed against Southend and is pushing for a start against Doncaster Rovers

Forward-thinking youngster Bradley Stevenson has caught the eye this season with a handful of positive displays.

The Gills suffered a disappointing home defeat to Southend last weekend but one highlight was the appearance off the bench from the attacking midfielder.

Stevenson has already shown promise from his handful of appearances, including a fearless half an hour against Championship side Millwall in the League Cup earlier this season.

Gillingham's Bradley Stevenson up against Southend's Harry Lennon Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham's Bradley Stevenson up against Southend's Harry Lennon Picture: Ady Kerry

His regular involvement with the first team follows a positive pre-season and he’s now pushing for his first league start.

The 20-year-old said: “It was nice to get some more minutes under my belt on Saturday, I thought I had a positive impact, I don’t think I could have done any more.

“I am a forward thinking player, I like creating chances, getting shots off, that is what I am known to do at the club, that’s what they have asked me to do.

“When you come off the bench, for 45 minutes or 10 minutes, you look to go out there and show as much positivity as you can and try and change the game, which I try to do.

“I nearly set up Listy (last Saturday) and came close myself. The shot from my angle looked like it was going in, but I don’t think there was enough pace to beat the keeper. Against Millwall I had a go, had a few shots. Hopefully one day I might have one that ends up in the back of the net.”

Stevenson has come off the bench in the league twice but there are no nerves when he plays, saying: “There’s nothing to lose, I am young. I just go out there and believe in myself.”

Gillingham midfielder Bradley Stevenson Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham midfielder Bradley Stevenson Picture: Ady Kerry

It’s been a long road to get to this stage for the Canterbury-based player, one of several young pros to hail from the east of the county, along with keeper Tom Hadler and defender Jack Tucker.

Stevenson is the only survivor from his age group to have made it this far, starting at the club as a striker in the under-7s, having been scouted from his local side Tyler Hill.

His first competitive start for the Gills' first team came this season, in the Checkatrade Trophy at Portsmouth. In the league he has faced Sunderland and Southend as a sub, taking his appearance tally up to six.

It’s been a hard path to get to where he is, now a second year professional, but he knows he still has plenty more to do.

“Playing for Gillingham has been something I have always wanted to do,” he said.

“I am nowhere near (making it), there is so much work to do. It’s what I am here to do, I have something to work towards and hopefully I can keep improving and push on and help the club up the league.

“I have been patient, I have waited a long time for it but it is very hard, people don’t believe it.

“It is the intensity and the focus, you have to be on it every single day. You haven’t got time for messing around, you have to be bang on it. It is what we try and get into the younger lads, because before you know if you will be gone.

"You might be good enough but if you are not here working hard every day, you are setting yourself back, you have to move forward.”

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