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Gillingham v Blackburn preview

25 Aug 2009 09:42:47

Gillingham v Blackburn preview

Gillingham host Premier League side Blackburn Rovers in the second round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night. The Gills overcame Plymouth in the opening round while Rovers could see the fixture as a way of getting their season up and running. Gillingham manager Mark Stimson is set to make changes to his starting line-up. The Gills have lost their last three games since beating Championship side Plymouth in the League Cup, and Stimson is to shake up his side in the wake of Saturday's disappointing showing against Hartlepool. There is likely to be a change in goal where Simon Royce will replace Alan Julian, having been brought on at half-time against Pools in a tactical change. Forward Dennis Oli came off the bench to make his first appearance of the season on Saturday following a knee injury and Stimson has hinted that he will play the full 90 minutes, while Kevin Maher will also be hoping to earn a start in the heart of midfield. Centre-back Josh Gowling will keep his place after extending his loan spell from Carlisle for a further month, while striker Mark McCammon, winger Chris Palmer and midfielder Rashid Yussuff could also be in contention for starting spots. Midfielder Stuart Lewis and centre-back Simon King are both still some way away from returning after ruptured ankle ligaments, while former Gills keeper Jason Brown will make his first return to the club where he made more than 130 appearances and was a fans' favourite between 2001 and 2006. An injury crisis at Blackburn means manager Sam Allardyce will not be resting many of his first team players for the tie. Injuries to defenders Ryan Nelsen (knee) and Chris Samba (heel) mean Stephen Warnock returns to the squad having been dropped at the weekend after becoming distracted by a bid from Aston Villa. On-loan forward Franco Di Santo is sidelined with a hamstring injury while striker Benni McCarthy has an ankle problem which may keep him out, meaning new signing Nikola Kalinic is set for another appearance. Midfielders Brett Emerton, Vince Grella and David Dunn could all play some part after injury but are not fit enough for 90 minutes.


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