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Two more players needed says Gillingham manager Neil Harris

Gillingham manager Neil Harris wants to add some creative spark to his side.

Harris wants at least two more signings - having already made 13 this summer - and adding a bit of creativity will be vital.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris watching his side at AFC Wimbledon at the weekend.Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham manager Neil Harris watching his side at AFC Wimbledon at the weekend.Picture: Keith Gillard

“We are looking for a couple,” said the Gills boss.

“We certainly need a little more creativity in the final third, then we have to look at where we are a little bit short of positionally once we have got that person in.

“Two more is a must. Then we will just see right at the end of the window what becomes available.

“We can only use five loans in a matchday squad, we have to get the balance between making sure we don’t take players for the sake of it and not being prepared to borrow players that we can’t guarantee game time to.”

Gillingham struggled to break AFC Wimbledon down on Saturday although the introduction of Ben Reeves for the second half helped.

“Ben Reeves made a fantastic impact,” Harris said. “He showed a hunger and determination to want to play.”

With captain Stuart O’Keefe missing and striker Lewis Walker waiting on international clearance, the Gills were still reliant on youth team players to make up the numbers at Wimbledon.

Teenage striker Joe Gbode and attacking midfielder Matty MacArthur were included, having both been given squad numbers this season.

Harris is happy to keep them involved but the jump to the first-team remains huge.

He said: “We have been light on numbers over the course of pre-season and it has afforded some youth team players that possibly aren’t ready for us yet to be involved, ultimately needs must.

“It has been great for us to get eyes on them, to see them at such a young age in our environment and developing in the coming years is really exciting for us and should be for the fans as well.”

But he warned: “It is a huge step to go from being a 17-year-old playing academy football on a Saturday to a League 2 environment the following week, it is a major contrast. I wouldn’t say it is impossible but when you see the stats each year, you only see one or two across the Football League that manage that jump.

“It is a big gulf and structurally in years to come at the club we need to try and bridge that gap, it is going to be imperative for the club to move forward.”

The academy under-18s have now gone to Spain for a period and Gbode is the only player to stay behind.

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