Gillingham pre-season training begins this week as Neil Harris continues to hunt for new signings

Gillingham start pre-season training today and manager Neil Harris can’t wait.

He has spent the past two months working tirelessly on player negotiations and, while these are ongoing, he is looking forward to welcoming his 11 contracted players to the building as preparations for the 2022/ 23 of Ligue 2 start.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris welcomes the players this week Image: KPI

Physical and technical work will dominate the first days of their comeback, led by the sports science team, before an internal game early next week. They travel to Folkestone Invicta next Saturday for their pre-season opener.

“I can’t wait,” said the manager. “It’s been a grueling summer so far in terms of recruitment and seeing the players back in the building is great.

“We have some great characters coming back, we want a fit Ben Reeves this season, it’s a challenge for us to make sure he’s as fit as possible and we’re really excited to have Alex MacDonald part of the group, on the grass, working towards his fitness.

“We have some very good players and good guys, it’s just about making sure we have that support around that central group at the top of the pitch and the goalkeeping department and adding quality to what we already have, but seeing the players is essential for a manager, to see the group, the connection and to build a culture and an environment over the next few weeks.

What can players expect when they return?

Harris said: “The first three days are based on fitness testing and it’s no longer about running in the pits, running the marathon, nothing like that, it’s based in the gym, on the field. , measures how far and when we expect players to cover, it’s very scientific

“Day one can be technical work, day two or three on the grass with passing drills, possession drills, we just have to make sure we have the right timing, how long we play and the right distances, how much they cover.

“Next week we will go straight into football from Monday, including an 11 v 11 in-house leading up to Folkestone on Saturday week.

Josh Chambers made his debut for Gillingham against Doncaster last season and was offered a professional deal this summer Photo: KPI
Josh Chambers made his debut for Gillingham against Doncaster last season and was offered a professional deal this summer Photo: KPI

On Tuesday, a professional contract offer was still on the table for teenager Josh Chambers. The midfielder was made his Football League debut by Harris last season and made his Sunderland debut in April.

Harris said: “We have offered him a contract and I have spoken extensively to him and his representatives on several occasions about how the football club views Josh’s development and with all due respect to all games, I played Josh in front of 30,000 at the Stadium of Light when we were entrenched in a relegation battle and trusted him.

“Josh’s potential is quite high, but the ball is still in the player’s court in terms of what he wants to do and where he sees his future.”


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Richard V. Johnson