Sky Bet League One
Saturday, August 6
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistants: Darren Cann and Craig Taylor
Fourth Official: Adrian Waters
After a promising pre-season, manager Justin Edinburgh goes into the League One campaign with a number of new additions to his team who will be looking to impress in their first competitive fixture for the Gills against Southend United on Saturday.
With over 1,700 tickets sold already, Gills fans are advised to book by visiting the GFC Online Ticket Office to avoid disappointment.
Edinburgh has a host of high-profile absentees going into the curtain-raiser at Roots Hall, with Bradley Garmston and Aaron Morris, plus new signings Lee Martin and Scott Wagstaff on the sidelines.
However, the manager has been looking forward to getting the season started ever since the fixtures came out back in June, and believes his side are prepared for Saturday.
“It’s classed as a derby and last year we took fantastic numbers, it was almost like a home game at Roots Hall. I’m sure the fans are looking forward to the start of the season just as much as the players are,” he said.
“We’ve had them watched, and had someone down there on Saturday [for their friendly against Colchester United]. We’ll do our preparation as we do every game, but we will look to impose ourselves and make sure we play to our strengths.
“If we are going to be successful it has got to be about how we perform, and apply ourselves. I have every confidence we will do that.”
Phil Brown’s side finished in 15th position in Sky Bet League One last season, in what was a successful first season back in the third tier of English football for the Essex club.
Like the Gills, the Shrimpers have had a busy summer recruiting the likes of ex-Newcastle youngster Nile Ranger, Simon Cox from Reading, and Jermaine McGlashan, who swapped the MEMS Priestfield Stadium for Roots Hall after being released in May.
Ex-Gills captain Adam Barrett now leads out Southend United and the defender is looking forward to the season starting.
“Me personally, I’m not a massive fan of the pre-season games whereas Saturday there is a proper edge to the fixture and I can’t wait to get started,” said Barrett.
“The first game always has that little extra bit of excitement where both fans are expecting their team to do well and the players are expecting to have a good season.
“With it being a local derby I’m sure Gillingham are going to bring a fair few down and our support at Roots Hall has always been tremendous so I’m looking forward to getting started.”
LAST TIME WE MET
Anthony Wordsworth’s strike put the hosts in front back in March, but Luke Norris’ second-half equaliser meant that the Gills went back to Kent with a point, although the visitors had enough chances to win the game.
Just shy of 2,000 Gillingham fans made the trip to Essex earlier in the year, and created an electric atmosphere away from home. With the same numbers expected on Saturday, plus the occasion being the first match of the League One season, we expect a thrilling encounter to be on the cards.
The teams have met 108 times in total, with the Gills winning 42, drawing 28 and losing 38.
FANCY A FLUTTER?
Southend win – 13/10
Draw – 11/5
Gillingham win– 11/5
For all the latest match odds visit Sky Bet.
GillsPlayer will have live match commentary from 2.50pm with Ronan Sully and Peter Lloyd.
The GillsWall will have interactive text commentary of the match, and the club’s social media channels will be bringing you live updates throughout the day.
SATURDAY’S SKY BET LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES
Bolton v Sheff Utd
Bradford v Port Vale
Bury v Charlton
Millwall v Oldham
Northampton v Fleetwood
Oxford Utd v Chesterfield
Rochdale v Peterborough
Scunthorpe v Bristol Rovers
Shrewsbury v MK Dons
Southend v Gillingham
Swindon v Coventry
Walsall v Wimbledon
*Matches are 3pm kick-offs unless stated