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Gillingham boss Steve Lovell must leave senior players sidelined every week following new arrivals

By Luke Cawdell

Picking a team has become more of a challenge for Gillingham boss Steve Lovell.

He had to leave three senior players out of the squad last weekend after his squad was bolstered by a flurry of new additions before the transfer window closed.

Callum Reilly, Dean Parrett and Bradley Garmston all missed the cut for the game at Coventry.

Dean Parrett was also on the sidelines at the Ricoh Arena Picture: Ady Kerry
Dean Parrett was also on the sidelines at the Ricoh Arena Picture: Ady Kerry

Lovell said: “With the squad that we have got now, the amount of options I have and competition for places, it is becoming difficult for me to pick a team but that is what I want.

“Everyone is pushing, the training has been lively, as it always is, but bringing in four or five new boys, it freshens up the group, it keeps everyone on their toes.”

Lovell’s selection will become even harder soon as midfielder Billy Bingham closes in on his return to fitness after injury. He is back training but this weekend will be too soon. He has been pencilled in for next week’s game against Scunthorpe.

Bradley Garmston was left out of the squad at Coventry Picture: Ady Kerry
Bradley Garmston was left out of the squad at Coventry Picture: Ady Kerry

New signing Ricky Holmes is at the club recovering from a back injury and with six loanees on the books, Lovell will need to leave one of those out once the Sheffield United playmaker becomes available, as only five are permitted in a matchday squad.

With so many options, Lovell hopes it keeps everyone on their toes.

“We have strengthened, very much so,” he said.

Callum Reilly was one of those that had to sit and watch at Coventry Picture: Ady Kerry
Callum Reilly was one of those that had to sit and watch at Coventry Picture: Ady Kerry

“We had three boys not on the bench who have been regulars in the team. It shows the depth we have now. People have to work hard in the week just to get on the bench because that is the way it has to be.

“If they perform during the week then I have a decision to make as to who goes on the bench but it might change week to week depending on who we are playing. Tactically we can now cover all bases.”

Adding the five attacking players last week was something Lovell felt needed doing, particularly after the recent 3-0 home loss to Walsall, and was backed by the chairman Paul Scally.

Leo Da Silva Lopes was one of the new signings on show at Coventry Picture: Ady Kerry
Leo Da Silva Lopes was one of the new signings on show at Coventry Picture: Ady Kerry

Lovell said: “He (Mr Scally) has been great, brilliant. He could see that perhaps after that game I was a little bit depressed, from a football perspective, from the way that they played, they were excellent.

"We didn’t perform in the first half and we needed to freshen things up."

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