England League 1 Outright
Gillingham made a managerial change mid season with Justin Edinburgh arriving from Newport County in early February. The former Tottenham player who spent a decade at White Hart Lane, saved County from relegation and took them to the FA Trohy final in his first season in charge and back into the Football League in his second, when he left they were 6th in League 2, they finished in 9th , averaging 0.7 points per game less, after his departure. Gills picked up an additional 0.43 per game after he arrived ( up to 1.61 pts pg) which would have given them 74 over the full season, enough for a playoff spot in each of the last five seasons.
He rather quickly identified what was wrong at Priestfield and that was a defence which conceded far too freely, especially on the road and made sorting that out a priority for the off season.
He signed left back and Ireland U21 international Bradley Garmston from WBA and central defender Max Ehmer from QPR on permanent deals after the pair spent time at the club on loan in the second half of last season. Gills were 5-3-1 with Garmston in the team and they won 12 of 27 (44%) starts with Ehmer in the back line, just 4 of 19 (21%) otherwise. I understand that both could have joined Championship teams and I really like that they have bought into the Gillingham project. Right back Ryan Jackson has arrived from Edinburgh's former club and is obviously a player he knows well and is said to be very quick, when he played County won 7% more matches and if that doesn't sound too much, that equals 10 points per season.
19 yo Jordan Houghton has signed on loan until Janauary from Chelsea where the defensive midfielder was U21 captain and is well thought of, having signed a three year contract last season. Speaking about this deal Edinburgh said: “Jordan is a very hungry young player who has had an excellent grounding at Chelsea; he won the Youth Cup the season before last, playing an integral part in the process, and has represented his country at three different age groups.“He is a terrific addition to our squad and I look forward to working with him.” Also signed until January is Cardiff City central defender Adedeji Oshilaja who was a big hit at AFC Wimbledon on a lengthy loan last season, he has been very impressed by the young talent at Gillingham and said: " I don’t see why we can’t be going for the play-offs." I am an ambitious person anyway and everyone else is ambitious here as well."
Up front, Luke Norris is a player I know well from time time at Brentford, he fell just short of the grade there, but is strong, tall and quick with an eye for goal and having only just turned 22 this month, is still improving and has time on his side, Cody McDonald is a prolific lower league striker with 61 league goals in 134 appearances for the Gills and he has scored at least 16 goals in each of his three full seasons in Kent.They are good options, but Edinburgh has added to them with the signing of Rory Donnelly from Swansea and Ben Williamson who decided to move here instead of signing a new contract at Port Vale. What I really like about all the additions is that they had options, in some cases more attractive looking ones and it just feels this is a team on the fringe of something big.
Edinburgh feels he might have found a hidden gem in Emmanuel Osadebe who came from Tottenham Hotspur’s foundation college programme, he was signed late last season , with the idea that he would play a few development games, which he did, impressing everyone in the process, he has been fast tracked to the first team squad and started a couple of pre season games, anyway, anything from him will be a bonus.
Gills caught my attention last season not only by their results at the end of the campaign, but how comfortable they looked against the better teams, beating MK Dons ( 2nd) 4-2, Sheffield United (5th) 2-0 and Swindon Town (4th) away 3-0 , also drawing 0-0 with champions Bristol City on the road. They have clearly strengthened significantly and they look certain to step up on last season's 12th placed finish, supporters are getting very excited and believe this is the best squad the club have had since 2000 when they made it to the now Championship for the first time. There is a little 2.50 around to finish top half if you can find it and obviously I feel that is good value, but we can be a little more adventurous...........
Gillingham to win League 1 @ 34.0 general quote.....there is a little circa 41.0 around.............this is a "cheap" bet and I think you will get a good run for your money !
Gillingham to finish top six 5.0-5.50 general quote.