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Match preview: Gillingham v Southend United at the Medway Priestfield Stadium (Saturday, 3pm)

By KentOnline reporter

Team news;

There is one change for the Gills from their starting line-up at Portsmouth with injured Brandon Hanlan out, replaced by Elliott List.

It's only a second league start for List, who will play upfront alongside leading scorer Tom Eaves.

Gillingham forward Elliott List is recalled Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham forward Elliott List is recalled Picture: Ady Kerry

Hanlan is one of several players out injured, including midfielders Billy Bingham and Regan Charles-Cook. Josh Parker is away on international duty having captained Antigua & Barbuda on Friday night.

Youngsters Bradley Stevenson and Darren Oldaker are both named on the bench while Connor Ogilvie has overcome injury. Conor Wilkinson is also back involved having missed the trip to Portsmouth last weekend.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Fuller, Ehmer, Zakuani, Lacey, Byrne, Parrett, Reilly, Eaves, List.

Subs: Garmston, Wilkinson, Oldaker, Rees, Stevenson, Hadler, Ogilvie.

Preview;

Gillingham are hoping last weekend’s surprise victory is the start of things to come.

The Gills ended a run of eight league games without success with a win over leaders Portsmouth but weekend visitors Southend have found a bit of form too.

A goalless draw with Oxford last Saturday followed a trio of wins in League 1.

Gillingham's manager Steve Lovell Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham's manager Steve Lovell Picture: Ady Kerry

Gillingham will be playing on their new pitch for the first time this weekend, after spending close to £500,000 on surface improvements at Priestfield.

Head to head;

Gills wins: 46 Draws: 30 Southend wins: 37

League Form;

Gillingham (WDLLLL): Portsmouth (a) 2-0, Shrewsbury (a) 2-2, Peterborough (h) 2-4, Rochdale (a) 0-3, Wimbledon (h) 0-1, Barnsley (a) 1-2.

Southend (DWWWLL): Oxford (h) 0-0, Burton (a) 2-1, Wycombe (a) 3-2, Fleetwood (h) 1-0, Shrewsbury (a) 0-2, Peterborough (h) 2-3.

Last time out in the league;

Portsmouth 0 Gillingham 2

Tom Eaves is congratulated on his stunning goal and the referee enjoyed it too Picture: Ady Kerry
Tom Eaves is congratulated on his stunning goal and the referee enjoyed it too Picture: Ady Kerry

Gillingham ended Portsmouth’s unbeaten start to the season by pulling off a surprise win at Fratton Park last Saturday.

The league leaders were 11 without loss before the game but the Gills put in a determined effort to protect a two-goal half time lead.

A stunning strike from Tom Eaves had put the Gills ahead and Alex Lacey doubled the lead before the interval. It was Gills’ first league win in nine.

Reaction: Anything can happen, says the Gills boss

Check out a selection of Ady Kerry’s pictures from the win

Last league meeting at Priestfield;

Gillingham 3 Southend 3

Tom Eaves scored a hat-trick the last time the Gills hosted Southend in the league Picture: Andy Jones
Tom Eaves scored a hat-trick the last time the Gills hosted Southend in the league Picture: Andy Jones

Striker Tom Eaves made the headlines with his stunning goal at Portsmouth and he was the main man the last time the Gills hosted Southend in the league too.

Eaves bagged a hat-trick for Gillingham in a 3-3 draw.

Ryan Leonard had put Southend ahead midway through the first half, when the sides met last August, but a brace from Eaves after the break put Gills infront.

Goals from Michael Kightly and Simon Cox restored Southend’s lead but Eaves claimed the matchball with his and Gills’ third, converting from close-range after his penalty had been saved.

Team news;

Brandon Hanlan is out with a hamstring injury Picture: Ady Kerry
Brandon Hanlan is out with a hamstring injury Picture: Ady Kerry

Gills striker Brandon Hanlan has been ruled out for a month with a hamstring strain.

The frontman pulled up with the injury, shortly after coming on in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy match against Tottenham.

Coach Ian Cox spoke of the frustration over injuries after Tuesday's game.

Fellow striker Josh Parker is away on international duty while midfielders Regan Charles-Cook and Billy BIngham remain doubtful.

Full-back Connor Ogilvie should be fit to return.

Man in the middle - John Busby

Referee John Busby. Picture: Ady Kerry
Referee John Busby. Picture: Ady Kerry

Games: 12 Yellows: 25 Reds: 1

Referee John Busby became the first league official to show a red card to a manager following the new EFL rule changes.

Shortly after giving Plymouth manager Derek Adams his marching orders, he also dismissed Southend boss Chris Powell, as things got heated on the sidelines during the clash in early August.

He was less busy when officiating Gills’ game at Barnsley in September, issuing just the one caution, to Callum Reilly.

Last season’s visit to Priestfield for the clash against MK Dons he got his yellow card out seven times and sent Conor Wilkinson off earlier on during the same campaign.

Assistants: Carl Fitch-Jackson & David Avent, Fourth Official: Alan Young

Returning skipper

Adam Barrett will be back at Priestfield on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin
Adam Barrett will be back at Priestfield on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham's League 2 winning captain Adam Barrett will be the special guest on Saturday.

Barrett played over 300 league games for Southend, having a second spell there following his Gills exit, having played 88 league games during his time at Priestfield.

He was a key figure for the Gills during the 2012/13 title winning season under Martin Allen, winning the player of the year award and being named in the League 2 team of the year.

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