League One Season Preview 2006/07 - Gillingham

 


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Gillingham

Odds: 25/1

Last Five Seasons
2005/06 - 14 (League One), 2004/05 - 22 (Championship, Relegated), 2003/04 - 21 (Championship), 2002/03 - 11 (Championship), 2001/02 - 12 (Championship).

2005/06 Cup Progress
FA Cup First Round vs Burscough (a) - lost 3-2.
Carling Cup Third Round vs Doncaster Rovers (a) - lost 2-0.
Football League Trophy Southern Section Second Round vs Wycombe Wanderers - lost 3-1 on penalties with the score at 2-2 after extra time.

Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Darren Byfield (striker) - 14 goals.

Players In
Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu (Cardiff City - Free), Dean McDonald (Ipswich Town - Free), Mark Bentley (Southend United - Free), Duncan Jupp (Southend United - Free), Clint Easton (Wycombe Wanderers - Free), Kelvin Jack (Dundee - Free), Gary Mulligan (Sheffield United - Free).

Players Out
Jason Brown (Blackburn Rovers - Free), Gavin Grant (Millwall - Free), Darren Byfield (Millwall - Free), Richard Rose (Hereford United - Free), John Wallis (Hereford United - Free), Chris Hope (Rushden & Diamonds - Free), Paul Crichton (Cambridge United - Free), Paul Shields (Livingston - Free).

After a difficult first season in League One following relegation from the Championship in the 2004/05 season, Gillingham have made wholesale changes to the squad which finished in mid table last term.

Manager Ronnie Jepson has revamped his attacking options with the arrivals of Sheffield United striker Gary Mulligan, who impressed during a 13 match loan spell last season, Cardiff City frontman Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu and Ipswich Town forward Dean McDonald on free transfers.

Jepson also signed Southend United duo Mark Bentley, a midfielder and Duncan Jupp, a right back and solved his goalkeeper crisis by signing Kelvin Jack from Dundee. Both Jason Brown and Paul Crichton left the club in the summer leaving Jepson without an experienced goalkeeper but the 30 year old Trinidadian joins fellow countrymen Brent Sancho and Ian Cox at the Priestfield.

While out of contract goalkeeper Brown joined Premiership side Blackburn Rovers in a shock transfer, last season’s top goal scorer Darren Byfield left the club to join League One rivals Millwall on a free transfer. Byfield's departure is a blow to Jepson who was keen to keep the striker who netted 14 goals last season despite missing several weeks of the campaign due to injury and suspension.

While chairman Paul Scally admitted he found it hard to motivate himself after relegation two years ago he now thinks the club is good enough to earn automatic promotion next season and praised the fans for the loyalty they have shown them.

Verdict
Paul Scally may think his club are good enough for automatic promotion but the bookmaker’s think differently. An improvement on last season’s mid table finish is expected but a top 10 finish may be the best the side can achieve.

David Walker runs Ladbrokes free bet and football betting systems websites. A free email course: “Seven Days to Better Betting" is available at both of these websites.

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