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Gillingham's inured pair Regan Charles-Cook and Billy Bingham are out for another week

By Luke Cawdell

Illness may have scuppered Gabriel Zakuani’s hopes of forcing his way back into the starting eleven this weekend.

The Gills captain is returning to fitness following a shoulder injury but suffered a further setback after missing training early on in the week.

Gills boss Steve Lovell said: “We will assess him on Thursday, see how he is and whether he can be involved.”

Gabriel Zakuani in action for Gillingham against Barnsley Picture: Ady Kerry
Gabriel Zakuani in action for Gillingham against Barnsley Picture: Ady Kerry

Midfielder Dean Parrett is expected to travel to Rochdale, returning to training this week after suffering a hamstring injury over a month ago, but the game comes too soon for fellow midfielders Regan Charles-Cook (hamstring) and Billy Bingham (thigh).

Injuries have played a part in Gills’ recent lack of form, with six players who started the season opener at Accrington not involved in the starting eleven against Wimbledon last weekend.

Lovell said: “It is no coincidence that we haven’t put any results together really. Others have gone in, done alright and performed alright. We expected them to come in and take their places, but not all of them together, you are asking a great deal of them.”

Charles-Cook’s absence is of particular significance, having been the driving force behind Gills’ attacking play early on this season.

Regan Charles-Cook will be out for at least another week Picture: Ady Kerry
Regan Charles-Cook will be out for at least another week Picture: Ady Kerry

Lovell said: “Regan is a miss for us, because of the way we started, Billy Bingham is the same, both started really well in the first couple of games and the combination of those two in midfield was excellent, it allowed us to play a certain way.

“Regan is a forward thinking player and created a lot for us. I don’t think we have another Regan in the football club. It may mean we have to play a different way, perhaps a way I don’t particularly like, but we have to adapt.”

It may mean Lovell changing his style, one best suited to who he has available and he’s hoping they find a way of being more of a goal threat.

“We haven’t looked like killing teams off,” he admitted.

“We haven’t looked like scoring too many since Coventry (at home). That is what I am more concerned about, us creating things.

"We haven’t conceded that many, there has only been one goal in it in the defeats, apart from the Sunderland game. It is disappointing really that we haven’t created enough.”

He added: “I am may have to mix it up a little, still with the same principles on the field, still with the hard work and organisation, but in a different set-up.”

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