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The Shouting Men column with Gillingham forward Brandon Hanlan

I’m hoping I have a better return to The Valley this weekend than the last time I was there!

I came off the bench in the Checkatrade Trophy against Tottenham and within minutes got a hamstring injury. I am sure it will be better this time.

I want to be involved on Saturday and playing against my former team, it’s definitely one I am looking forward to.

Gillingham striker Brandon Hanlan Picture: Brandon Hanlan
Gillingham striker Brandon Hanlan Picture: Brandon Hanlan

There’s still a lot of friends of mine at Charlton, who I haven’t played against before, and we have been having some banter on the group chats.

My friend Joe Aribo is the number 17 in midfield, he is a good friend, along with a few others like Karlan Grant and Anfernee Dijksteel. It will be different playing against them, they are doing well now so it should be a good game.

I enjoyed my time there. I was at Charlton for five years and I came up from a youth player so I know everyone and it is full of good people. I made a lot of friends there.

I was released at the age of 21 but I had got to grips in my head that if it wasn’t going to work for me there, I would go somewhere else and make it work. That is what football is about – not everyone can make it at the club they come through.

While at Charlton I went out on loan to Colchester and Bromley, playing first team football and just trying to get games under my belt in men’s football. It’s still a new experience for me.

Going back to your old club, in the back of your head you feel like you want to show them what you can do as a player. Their manager Lee Bowyer was assistant to Karl Robinson when I got released.

Because we’re playing the team I used to play for, I would say I have a point to prove. When you play against a former team you want to do well, but I wouldn’t think too much about that. It’s just another game of football and I am trying to perform.

I had a great start to the season with Gillingham but I don’t feel like that is it. I am still improving and still have a lot more to learn, I feel like I can keep on excelling.

My highlight so far would be scoring my first goal on my debut, away to Accrington back in August.

In the last couple of weeks there’s been a few games where I didn’t get on and I have had a couple of injuries, but I went on against Wycombe on Saturday and tried to do what I could.

It’s good that we are finding some form, picking up points and reaching the third round of the FA Cup as well.

It makes the dressing room much better when you are winning games, there is nothing better. There hasn’t been much talk about Cardiff in the FA Cup, it has gone a bit quiet since the draw, but when it gets to January we will think about that.

We had a couple of days away as a squad after last weekend’s game and it was good for team bonding. Everyone enjoyed themselves and hopefully we can bring that out on the pitch, all enjoying it together.

We don’t get opportunities like that very often, you train and then you go home, but that was full on and everyone enjoyed themselves – it was good.

We all went in fancy dress. I got the letter N and I was a Ninja Turtle, Leonardo to be specific!


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