Gillingham Boss Faces Injury Dilemma for League Two Play Off Push

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence might have to rush Josh Andrews into the first team, even though the striker is still recovering from injury.

Andrews signed for the Gills in January but he has not made an appearance for the Kent-based club due to injury. The 22-year-old hasn’t featured competitively since early December, when he was on loan at his previous club Accrington Stanley from Birmingham City.

Clemence has been without several key attacking players in recent weeks, including Jorge Hurtado, which has hindered the club’s goalscoring prospects as they push for a League Two play-off spot. Despite sitting 10th and just one point behind seventh-placed AFC Wimbledon, Gillingham have scored a league-low of 36 goals in 39 matches this season.

These goalscoring numbers have led Clemence to acknowledge that he may have to rush Andrews back earlier than expected, especially with crucial League Two fixtures coming up. Between late March and April 1, Gillingham take on fellow play-off chasers Morecambe, Crewe and Harrogate.

The Gills will need positive results here and Clemence explained to Kent Online that he may need to speed up Andrews’ return to support the club’s play-off pursuit.

“We have been really unlucky with Josh, he should have been back a lot quicker, but we have to accept it and it is good he is back on the grass and in the coming days and weeks we will assess whether we push him on a bit quicker or whether we can afford to hold him back.

“I might have to try and rush that through and there might have to be an element of risk in doing it a little quicker, but I also have to make sure we don’t have to do any long-term damage to Josh, because his health is the most important and we want him right for the club going forward.”

Writer’s View

Clemence is in an unenviable situation currently as he is looking to field his best possible team as the League Two play-off race ramps up. Yet, as the 45-year-old coach acknowledged. Andrews’ return cannot be rushed and a slow introduction is the most likely scenario where the 22-year-old builds fitness from the bench.

Ultimately, Gillingham fans might not see their new signing in a starting role until the trip to Bradford on April 6. This would leave Andrews with four League Two games to make an impact in the final third and help the Gills into the play-off positions.

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