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Gillingham will face Southend United this weekend on a newly installed pitch

By Luke Cawdell

Regan Charles-Cook may have to wait a little longer to show what he can do on Gillingham’s new pitch.

The finishing touches to the newly laid surface were taking place during the end of the week.

Gillingham are paying around £500,000 for the works, which include new drainage and irrigation, but an ankle injury means Charles-Cook looks set to be watching from the sidelines again this Saturday.

Gillingham's new hybird pitch has been laid
Gillingham's new hybird pitch has been laid

“The rehab is going well and I am getting the strength back, it shouldn’t be too long but Saturday is a bit too early maybe,” said the attacking midfielder.

“I can’t wait to play on the new pitch, I wish I could be back for this week to get the first feel.

“The pitch can make a difference to the way you play. We have a lot of ball players, who like to keep the ball moving and I think it will suit our style of play.

“If the pitch is rough and patchy you are not going to take that many risks, you won’t want to play out because the ball will bobble, you then work the percentages and get up the field.

“Some pitches can be ultra sticky and others are like a carpet, where you can take risks, be confident, you can pass the ball smoothly and it all plays a part.”

Regan Charles-Cook having to be patient Picture: Ady Kerry
Regan Charles-Cook having to be patient Picture: Ady Kerry

Charles-Cook has been out after rolling his ankle in the game against Peterborough and having an opponent land on it. It’s added to his frustrations, having already missed a chunk of the season with a hamstring injury.

The youngster is getting on with his rehab with a smile on his face, however, and he he enjoyed last weekend’s win over Portsmouth as much as anyone, making sure he got to see video of the game to keep himself in the loop.

“I switched the phone off when it was 1-0,” he said, having followed the action on twitter.

“I turned back on in the 87th minute and saw Max Ehmer had made a block off the line. I watched the game back on Monday and saw how we played. I wanted to do that and I wanted to see the (Tom Eaves) goal because I heard it was Bergkamp-esq, which it was, I watched the goal about 20 times!

Gillingham's new hybird pitch is being laid Picture: KM (4692316)
Gillingham's new hybird pitch is being laid Picture: KM (4692316)

“What made me happy was the way everyone fought for each other. Everyone got behind the ball when they needed to and you could see if someone else was out of position another player would run and do someone else’s work.

“I thought it was a real honest performance from the boys, they worked very hard and we were clinical, we created chances and we defended in walls, we had three different walls, in defence, midfield and attack. You could see Portsmouth were struggling to break us down.

“It was a result that brings a buzz to the squad as well. I came in smiling on Monday and congratulated all of the boys, it brought more positivity to me, it gave me a boost in my rehab. I want to be out there and involved in it, it makes for a proper positive atmosphere and everyone was smiling.

“It is something we deserved because we haven’t been playing badly, we have just been unlucky. We deserved that and hopefully we can push on from it. I will be here Saturday, watching and being with the boys in the changing room, closing my eyes probably, but I’ll be here!”

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