Published: 06:00, 09 June 2021
| Updated: 10:13, 09 June 2021
Olly Lee believes Gillingham offer him the best chance of reaching the Championship.
The attacking midfielder signed a permanent deal at Priestfield last week after his Hearts contract expired.
He was keen to move back down south, with his son due to start school in September and another baby on the way.
Gills were in pole position following two strong loan spells at Priestfield and the 29-year-old is convinced Steve Evans’ side have what it takes to get out of League 1.
“That was my main conversation with the gaffer,” said Lee.
“I feel I can play in the Championship and I want to be at the club that’s best-suited to get me there.
“I think Gillingham, and the way the gaffer sold it to me, was what I want.
“I see myself as a Championship player in League 1, I’m determined to get there and I’m trying to find the best route.
“The gaffer thinks he’s a Championship manager and he’s finding the best route so hopefully we can be aligned, we’ve got a strong side and I’m sure he always manages to pull some good players out, free transfer, loans, so I think we’ve got a strong chance of a good season.”
Lee said he was flattered by interest from other clubs but Evans’ determination to bring him to Priestfield played a big part in his decision.
“The gaffer was quite persistent with his phone calls and his text messages,” said Lee.
“It’s always nice to be wanted, so I couldn’t really say no.
“You want a manager that really wants you.
“At one point I was talking to him more than my missus so he really showed he wanted me and that was good to see because I want to play a big part in getting Gills in the play-offs.
“It’s a tough league but League 1 is always a tough league. The bigger the team, the better for Gillingham.
“We enjoy those games, we always seem to play well in those games and for me personally they’re the teams I want to be playing.
“You don’t want to be playing, no disrespect, the smaller sides, you want Sunderland, Bolton, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, they’re the games you want to play in and show how good you are.”
Lee built a good understanding with his fellow midfielders after returning to Gillingham on loan in January.
Big-name players Jordan Graham, Connor Ogilvie and Jack Bonham have moved on but the core of the side remains in place.
“It’s essential we keep the lads together,” said Lee.
“We’ve got a strong core and if we can keep that continuity, we all understand each other’s game, we’re getting to that point where we all know where each other is going to be and what we’re thinking when we’re on the ball and it makes things a lot easier, it becomes a lot more natural."