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Match Previews

League 1 preview: Gillingham

11 July 2013

Latest preview ahead of the new season

League 1 preview: 

The League 2 champions will be going into the new season in League 1 full of confidence having secured promotion in style last season. After amassing an impressive 83 points they finished five points clear of Vale. 

The Kent side were knocked off the top spot by Vale on a few occasions last season but an impressive defensive record of only 39 goals conceded saw them up as champions.

Team: Gillingham 

A total of 35 players featured for Gillingham over the last campaign, that’s a lot of winner’s medals.

It’s fair to say that Martin Allen’s side is built from a strong defence, with the onus on keeping a clean sheet and seeing out a low scoring affair. 

Gillingham didn’t have a Tom Pope last season that could score 20-30 goals over the season. Instead the goals were shared around the side, with top scorer Danny Kedwell scoring 16 goals in all competitions. Veteran journeyman Deon Burton chipped in with 13 goals while young midfielder Myles Weston scored eight league goals from a deeper position.

Players:

With goals needed to build on that impressive defence, manager Martin Allen has opted for a footballing giant in Adebayo Akinfenwa on a free transfer from Northampton Town.

Elsewhere goalkeeper Tommy Forecast has joined on a free transfer from Premier League side Southampton.

Allen has also strengthened his attacking options out wide by drafting in Antoio German from Vale’s opening opponents Brentford.

Amine Linganzi has also join from Accrington Stanley.

With four in sees four players leave, Lewis Montrose will drop back down to League 2 and wear the York City shirt next season.

33-year-old left-back Andy Frampton has joined AFC Wimbledon while fellow full-back Jack Evans has joined Tamworth.

The only player to exit and definitely face Gillingham next season is Jack Payne after the 21-year-old midfielder joined Peterborough United.

Manager: Martin Allen 

At the age of 48 most managers have a few clubs under their belt, current Gillingham boss Martin Allen has no fewer than 9 professional football clubs on his CV.

Joining Gillingham in July 2012 Allen had his first taste of success following the Gills’ promotion season.

Allen has only managed a team for two seasons before moving onto his latest project. If the Gills have a bad run will he jump ship again? 

As a player Allen only featured for four clubs between 1984 and 1998, QPR, West Ham, Portsmouth and Southend Untied. 

Football runs in the Allen family, his cousins Clive Allen, Bradley Allen and Paul Allen all enjoyed successful playing careers. 

Allen’s son Charlie joined his dad at Gillingham last season, arriving from Notts County where Allen was also manager a season earlier.

Key man: Joe Martin

The Dagenham born midfielder had a great season that ended in the Gills promotion as champions as well as the Players’ Player Award.

The 24-year-old is an England youth international having started his career with West Ham and later Tottenham Hotspur.

Martin has also enjoyed promotion success with Blackpool as they were promoted to the Premier League through the Play-Offs in 2010.

Like his manager Martin comes from a footballing family, his father is former West Ham United and England defender Alvin Martin while his brother David Martin also plays professionally for MK Dons.

Promotion odds: 9/1

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