Gillingham FC – Potential Summer Signings

With the Gillingham retained list now published, the next thing for supporters is eagerly awaiting the announcement of new signings as Justin Edinburgh builds towards the 2015-16 campaign.

It is well documented that the gaffer is hopeful of securing both centre back Max Ehmer and striker John Marquis after successful loans last term, but here at RainhamEndViews we have had a look at who could be other possible targets.

Please be aware that we are in no way ‘in the know’ – this is just a list of players who we think may could be available, affordable, and could improve the Gills’ squad.

As with anything, it is highly unlikely you will all agree, but we hope you enjoy the read nonetheless.

Joe Day (24) goalkeeper, Newport County.

2014-15 Stats: 38 games/ 0 goals/ 0 yellows/ 0 reds

The 24 year old stopper has already played twice – at Rushden and Newport – under Justin Edinburgh, so it would be no surprise to see him arrive in Kent, especially with the uncertainty surrounding current keeper Stuart Nelson.

Having originally signed on loan from Peterborough, he made his move permanent in the New Year and has kept 11 clean sheets for the Welsh side as they finished 9th in League Two.

Ryan Tafazolli (23) centre back, Mansfield.

2014-15 Stats: 42/1/8/1

A product of the famous Southampton youth academy, Tafazolli captained the Under 18 and Reserve sides at St Mary’s but failed to break into the first team squad.

However, since arriving at Mansfield in 2012 he has started to fulfil some of his potential, and he picked up three separate Player of the Year awards  the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

Was the subject of a bid from Scottish Premier League side Dundee United in the summer of 2014, and in a struggling side he still helped them to ten shut outs last term.

The Gills are currently revamping their defensive line having released three, so could he make the step up a division?

Ben Coker (25) left back, Southend.

2014-15 Stats: 35/1/3/1

Hatfield born Coker spent his early career mainly at non league clubs, except for a three year spell at Colchester where he won Young Player of the Year in 2011, but his career has progressed in two seasons at Southend.

Since impressing on trial in 2013  he has gone on to make over 80 appearances down the left hand side, and has been an integral part of the club’s run to this years League Two Play Offs.

Whether he stays or goes may all be dependant on whether they can gain promotion.

Could his ability to play anywhere down the left fit in with Justin Edinburgh’s diamond 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 systems?

Lawrie Wilson (27) right back, Free Agent

2014-15 Stats: 30/2/0/0

Starting off at Charlton as a youngster, full back Wilson left the club without playing a first team game, and after a short spell at Colchester United he joined Stevenage Borough, where his career took off.

In a five year spell with the club he played well over 150 times, and during that time he helped them to FA Trophy glory in 2009, before securing their first promotion to the Football League just a year later, and his and the club’s progression continued the following season as back to back promotions saw them rise to League One.

During one season with Stevenage in the third tier the fairytale continued, only a Play-Off semi final defeat to Sheffield United denying them a shot at a third promotion in three years.

Wilson was clearly impressing plenty, and in the summer of 2012 returned to Charlton, where in three seasons he played over 100 times in the Championship.

He has recently been released by the London side, so could his ability to play as a full back in a back four as well as at wing back see the Gills swoop for the free agent?

Mark Byrne (26) centre midfield, Newport County.

2014-15 Stats: 44/4/9/0

Another who already played twice under Justin Edinburgh at both Rushden and Newport, Northern Irishman Byrne may well be a target considering the Gills currently have only four senior central midfielders on their books and Josh Pritchard is rumoured to be homesick.

Last term he featured heavily in a Newport side that finished only two places outside the League Two Play Off zone.

Could a step up, and a reunion with his old gaffer, be on the cards?

Ryan Donaldson (23) central midfield, Cambridge United.

2014-15 Stats: 44/7/9/0

A Newcastle United youth graduate, Donaldson made a handful of first team appearances for the Geordies before leaving in search of regular football.

His career has since taken in loan stints at Hartlepool and Tranmere – as well as a spell at non league Gateshead – before arriving at Cambridge in the summer of 2013.

Since joining, the central midfield man had played on 77 occasions, netting 12 goals.

Last term he excelled in two FA Cup ties versus Premier League heavyweights Manchester United.

Young and hungry is how Edinburgh has described his Gills squad, so could this young man fit the bill?

Max Power (21), central midfield, Tranmere Rovers.

2014-15 Stats: 53/13/9/0

Highly thought of ever since joining the club as a schoolboy, Power has now played over 100 games for the recently relegated Rovers.

During 2014-15, in a side relegated from the Football League for the first time in 94 years, he still managed to net 13 goals in 53 games.

Potentially out of contract this June, he will surely attract plenty of suitors, so could Justin persuade him his future lays in Kent?

Michael Coulson (26) winger, York City

2014-15 Stats: 47/4/3/0

Happy playing from either side, winger Coulson has been a virtual ever present for York City since arriving in 2012, and despite injuring his cruciate ligament during his debut campaign, he recovered quicker than anticipated.

The injury has seemingly had no effects on his long term fitness, as over the last two seasons he has featured on 83 occasions, chipping in with 11 goals.

On top of that he was York’s leading goal maker last term, with eleven by the beginning of April.

Part of the side that agonisingly lost in last years League Two Play-Offs to Fleetwood, could he play as a wing back – he has previously been praised for his work rate and defensive awareness –  in the 3-5-2 system that Justin Edinburgh likes to implement, or as an out and out wide man in a more traditional 4-4-2?

Gavin Massey (22) winger, Colchester United.

2014-15 Stats: 51/8/6/0

Wide man Massey has been with the ‘U’s in some capacity since 2012, and in that time has amassed well over 100 appearances.

In the season just gone he has flourished despite Colchester struggling.

His eight goals on route to helping keeping his side up have lead to a two year contract extension, meaning a decent fee may be required to prize him away.

Would the Gills be prepared to pay such an amount?

Paddy Madden (25) striker, Scunthorpe United.

2014-15 Stats: 55/17/4/0

Having arrived from his native Ireland as somewhat of a rough diamond, it took a transfer from Carlisle to Yeovil to spark something in 25 year old Madden.

In 2012-13 he netted 23 goals in 39 games to help the West Country outfit gain promotion to the Championship.

A step into the second tier proved tough, and no goals in ten saw him shipped out to Scunthorpe, then in League Two.

After a slow start, seventeen goals helped the Iron secure their League One status in 2014-15, all this despite manager Mark Robins admitting to playing him out of position.

With Justin Edinburgh surely after at least one front man, could the promise of a central berth persuade him to move?

Chris Dagnall (29) striker, Leyton Orient.

2014-15 Stats: 42/13/2/1

Liverpool born Dagnall is now approaching 30, but his strike rate in the football league is not to be sniffed at.

During four seasons at Rochdale, from 2006 until 2010, he netted over fifty times, and last season he hit the target  on 13 occasions in a Leyton Orient side relegated from League One.

With him currently out of contract, could he provide valuable experience to what could be a relatively young Gills squad?

Tom Nichols (21) striker, Exeter City.

2014-15 Stats: 39/15/4/1

Having made the breakthrough at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Exeter youngster Nichols has gone from strength to strength.

Six strikes from 29 games was a small sign of what was to come, and in 2014-15 he has excelled.

His 15 goals from 39 appearances show he knows where the net is, and that equated to a quarter of his sides total goals scored.

Could Justin try and lure him to Kent to let him test himself in League One?

So there is our list of potential, realistic targets for the Gills.

As already mentioned, we have no inside information on transfers, it is just research and conjecture.

We would love to hear your thoughts, and who you think we could possibly bring in, and as always we will try and retweet as many of your suggestions as possible.


*A big thanks to fellow Rainham Ender Marc Walder who helped with this piece, you can follow him on Twitter @marcwboz


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