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Gillingham manager Neil Harris reacts to their pre-season win at Folkestone Invicta

Manager Neil Harris admitted the hard work during the week had an impact on his team’s weekend performance.

Gillingham won Saturday’s friendly 2-0 but those goals came in the second half against a weaker Folkestone XI and Harris knows the team will get sharper as the pre-season progresses.

Manager Neil Harris watches his Gillingham team at Folkestone Picture: Barry Goodwin
Manager Neil Harris watches his Gillingham team at Folkestone Picture: Barry Goodwin

“Of course we are rusty,” he said after the match. “I thought some of the players looked extremely leggy, we had a really tough week, worked extremely hard over the previous 48 hours and that’s why we looked leggy at times in the running sense of things, but just to get the boys out there and see some of the young lads perform well, I am really pleased.

“It’s nice for the boys to have a positive, nice for the fans that have travelled to support us, to see a positive as well. I would have liked to have seen a bit more quality at times, we are asking them to play a bit more football this year and we are early stages obviously. It is going to take us a good period to get up and running, especially with so many changes to the squad, and more to come.

“The game was about match minutes, managing Scott Kashket, I took him off after 30 minutes and that was always the plan to take him off, he wasn’t injured or anything like that, he came in quite late and to get him 30 minutes was important and ultimately that is what these games are for.

“It is for Cugs (the Folkestone manager) to get minutes into his players and me to get minutes into mine.

“Results are relevant, it is always nice to get a couple of goals and a clean sheet, but it is just about getting the boys through the minutes.

“Training has been immense, the staff, what they have put together, with training regimes, physical regimes, enjoyment factor for the players, they have been working hard and fair play to my staff for that. The boys have worked extremely hard.”

Isthmian League Folkestone gave the Gills a solid test, particularly first half when six of the club’s new signings were in action.

“Watching the warm-up I couldn’t believe how big Folkestone were!” admitted the Gills boss.

“It was a great test, they are a group that has come together, same as us, and I thought there was evidence of play from both teams that were good. We were good in spells and I thought Folkestone played some good bits as well.

“I thought we had no real shape to us defensively because we have done nothing defensively, just a little bit with the ball, but so far it has been general generic sessions, keep-ball and passing drills, so we are nowhere near an identity to how we want to play.”

Harris is still on the hunt for additions, with his senior squad numbering 13 players. He’ll be hoping to get that figure up to 20 by the end of the transfer window.

The Gills boss said: “We will work hard next week and there will be some fatigue in the lads next Saturday (at Dover) as well, that is what pre-season is for, it is about making sure they get everything they want going into the games, the games are just a bolt-onto what we do during the week.

“What we will be able to do this week is a little bit more structure to our play, with or without the ball, but again it is about adding players to the group. It is important we work with the 13 senior players that we have got but the real importance comes when we have 15,16 or 17 in, so getting bodies through the door is still the priority.”

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