Gills’ key men – who will make the difference?

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With the big kick off only a day away, I take at look at which players will be instrumental in the Gills season:

Barry Fuller: Captain of the ship, Fuller will be the leader on the pitch, in charge of motivating the Gills team, even on a cold, wet January in Torquay!

As well as being a great leader, Barry is also Mr Dependable of the Gillingham defence. It takes something really special to beat the full back, who rarely makes mistakes and is a consistently good performer.

Josh Gowling: With Simon King out until at least Christmas, it will be up to defender Gowling to sure up the Gills back line.

The athletic centre back impressed last year with his tough tackling and aerial ability. Gowling has the ability to read the game and snuff out attacks, also not being scared to put it in where it hurts. His presence at the back will be a great asset in League Two.

Danny Spiller: Fans are eager to see Spiller back in a Gillingham shirt. In pre-season, “Spills” has impressed with his high energy, high tempo performances. Danny’s job will be to do the dirty work, covering every inch of the midfield to stop opposition attacks and give the ball to Curtis Weston to set up the attacks.

As well as being used for breaking down attacks, Spiller is a very talented footballer on the ball, capable of playing a defence splitting pass against any opposition.

Curtis Weston: Possibly one of the most gifted footballers to play at Priestfield, midfielder Weston is often the focal point of the Gills forward play. Weston has tremendous technical ability, which is shown in his passing, dribbling and ball control.

During the 2009/10 season, Curtis was used as an offensive weapon, especially useful at taking the ball from deep and creating attacking opportunities, he also has a keen eye for goal and can strike a ball very sweetly.

Shrewsbury Town discovered his long range scoring ability in the Gills last foray into League Two. This year I feel Weston could be one of the players of the season, as he has the ability to unlock any defence and can produce a superb end product.

Andy Barcham: Last year's player of the season, Barcham has the pace and trickery to get round anyone. Last time in league two, Barcham would destroy teams by himself, with speed and skill the opposition purely couldn’t keep up with.

Andy is also very capable in front of goal, as shown with a twenty five yard wonder strike last year against Charlton.

Adebayo Akinfenwa: Big front man Akinfenwa arrives at Gillingham with a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders, having found the net 17 times for Northampton last term. The Preistfield faithful will be looking for more of the same from “Bayo” as he is brought in to replace last seasons top scorer, Simeon Jackson.

Akinfenwa’s brute power will be too much for many League Two defences and I can see his goal tally hitting twenty, with all the opportunities given to him by Weston, Barcham & co. It will be interesting to see how he combines with fellow new boy Cody McDonald in the Gills strike partnership.

Cody Mcdonald: As with Akinfenwa, Mcdonald is also brought in to help replace Simeon Jackson, as Andy Hessenthaler looks to have built a very strong front pairing.

Hess has gone with the traditional big man, little man up top and many Gills fans are excited at the prospect of McDonald in a Gillingham Shirt as he impressed against the Kent club last year for Norwich in the Johnstones’ Paint Trophy.

I personally am very excited at the thought of “Bayo” and Cody being the front pairing for the season, I can see many goals coming from the pair.

The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

Andy Barcham
Cody McDonald
Josh Gowling
Curtis Weston
League Two
Barry Fuller
Simeon Jackson
Simon King
Adebayo Akinfenwa

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