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Gillingham striker Tom Nichols ready to take on Southampton in the Carabao Cup after an opening day win at Stockport in League 2

Gillingham striker Tom Nichols has a plan for taking on Southampton and their possession-based style when they meet at Priestfield.

The Gills come against the Championship side on Tuesday night in the first round of the Carabao Cup - and Nichols knows they will be facing a side who are likely to dominate with the ball.

Gillingham striker Tom Nichols in action against Stockport Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham striker Tom Nichols in action against Stockport Picture: @Julian_KPI

Nichols joked: “We watched their game (on Friday night) and they nearly made 1,000 passes and we might have to bring our own football for that one!”

The Gills enjoyed themselves in the Carabao Cup last year, beating Brentford and pushing Wolves close. Nichols and his teammates won’t be fearing the Saints.

He said: “They are a good side but that doesn't mean we're going to lie down and let them beat us, we're at home, and our fans are brilliant at home. We're good at home. It’s a free hit and we'll see where it takes us.”

Gillingham will be full of confidence after starting the season with a 1-0 win at much-fancied Stockport on Saturday.

Nichols said: “We knew we had momentum going into (Saturday’s game) and we didn’t want that to drift away; Momentum is huge in football.

“The club is pulling in the right direction and we have to keep going.

“There is a long way to go, we haven’t done anything yet.

“We've recruited well again in the summer, we've got really good characters in the dressing room. Obviously, there would have been disappointed players not starting (on Saturday) but they went on and made a great impact. We're all like a team, which is huge.

“To score a late winner and see our fans go absolutely mental is what you play football for. They were loud, they were brilliant, I can’t speak highly enough of them, home and away.”

Gillingham celebrate their winning goal at Stockport on Saturday Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham celebrate their winning goal at Stockport on Saturday Picture: @Julian_KPI

There should be a good-sized crowd at Priestfield on Tuesday. Southampton have sold out their away allocation.

The midweek visitors were relegated from the Premier League last season and under new boss Russell Martin have adopted his keep-ball philosophy.

They kicked off their season in the second tier on Friday night, beating Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough 2-1, making good their 80% possession and staggering passing stats.

Gills fans already know about Martin and his love of passing and possession. His MK Dons team came to Priesfield in March 2021 and popped the ball around for fun from kick off, scoring in the fourth minute after a 56-pass move.

Gillingham didn’t get a touch and the Dons declared it a British record.

The Gills had the last laugh on the day, however, winning the game 3-2 and also finishing above them in the table.

Last season, Martin’s Swansea team - who also finished mid-table - was criticised for not making the most of their dominance on the ball. His Southampton side struggled to turn possession into clear chances on Friday despite looking like a class act in possession - a glimmer of hope for the Gills.

Any nugget of comfort will do for Gillingham against a club still boasting a squad knee-deep in Premier League talent. They still hold onto the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Romeo Lavia but are expected to lose some of their star men before the transfer window closes.

Russell’s unlikely to risk his big earners for a trip to Priestfield, however. Kick off on Tuesday night is 7.45pm and home tickets remain on sale.

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