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In opposition: Gillingham - ones to watch

19 October 2021

Returning top goal scorer Vadaine Oliver and captain Kyle Dempsey, Gillingham were predicted by many to once again be a mid-table Sky Bet League One team in 2021/22.

Returning top goal scorer Vadaine Oliver and captain Kyle Dempsey, Gillingham were predicted by many to once again be a mid-table Sky Bet League One team in 2021/22.

While the arrival of hot prospect goalkeeper Jamie Cumming and the signings of Rhys Bennett in defence, along with Daniel Lloyd-McGoldrick in the middle of the park had many supporters talking about a possible play-off push.

However, the side have had a number of injuries in key areas has seen them concede more goals than they would probably have liked, though they are still scoring plenty and have a lot of threats all over the pitch.

 

Ones to watch

 

Kyle Dempsey

Arriving to the club from Fleetwood Town in August 2020, midfielder Kyle Dempsey was quickly made the team captain. Last season, the Whitehaven native scored eight goals for the Gills. This season, he has one assist to his credit already.

He has registered 16 interceptions and 10 tackles won in defence. He’s delivered a team-high 47 crosses, and is one of the most fouled players on the team with 12. Dempsey began his youth and senior career at Carlisle United, eventually signing for Championship side Hull City in July 2015

He played the 2015/16 season at Hull, before then spending the entirety of the 2016/17 season on loan at Fleetwood Town. He signed a permanent deal with Fleetwood in May 2017, where he would stay until inking a deal with current side Gillingham.

 

Daniel Lloyd-McGoldrick

Midfielder Daniel Lloyd-McGoldrick signed for Gillingham in July 2021, turning down a contract extension that would have kept him at Tranmere Rovers.

Beginning his career at non-league club Southport while also working a day-to-day as a business development manager with a waste management company. In 2017, his hard work paid off and he penned a deal with Peterborough United in League One.

After failing to receive regular playing time for the club in his first year, Lloyd-McGoldrick found his way to National League side Salford City in July 2018. He spent two years as a member of the club, scoring five goals in 39 appearances.

This season with Gillingham, the Liverpool born forward is second on the team with three goals scored from eight shots on target, including scoring one from the penalty spot. He’s also produced 34 crosses, won four tackles and picked up three interceptions defensively.

 

Robbie McKenzie

Former Hull City defender Robbie McKenzie signed a contract to play at Priestfield Stadium in August 2020. He had spent the previous three seasons with Hull City, where he had been since joining the Tigers’ youth academy at the age of nine.

In August 2017, he made his senior debut for the club in a 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Rovers. In all, he saw action in 26 matches for the Tigers before being released from the club following Hull’s relegation to League One at the end of the 2019/20 campaign. Since his arrival to Priestfield Stadium, McKenzie has scored one goal and contributed on two assists. This season, he has 27 crosses into the box, won 12 tackles and collected a pair of interceptions. 

 

Vadaine Oliver 

Forward Vadaine Oliver served as the top goal scorer for Gillingham with 20 across all competitions last season.

His first goal came by way of a header in the Gills’ 2-1 win at home to Crawley Town in September 2020 in the Carabao Cup. He was named League One Player of the Month in March 2021, after the Sheffield native scored eight goals in eight games. 

Oliver began his career with hometown club Sheffield Wednesday. He inked his first professional contract with them in 2010 while his first professional goal came with Lincoln City in 2012.

Oliver also spent time with Crewe Alexandra, Mansfield Town (loan), York City, Notts County (loan), Morecambe and most recently Northampton Town before arriving to Gillingham. 

This season, Oliver has quickly rekindled his scoring ability from a season ago, already netting five of the Gills’ 13 goals on the season. He is hitting the target 50% of the times, having registered 15 shots on target in 30 attempts, and is averaging 1.12 shots on target per 90 minutes.

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