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So folks, we are now at the midway point of the 2017-18 season.

And from the depths of despair during the early months of the campaign, I think it is fair to say that we can look forward to what 2018 may have to bring with a degree of cautious optimism.

Gillingham squad half-time analysisIn this piece, I take a look at all those who have featured so far and give them a rating out of ten..

Goalkeepers

Tomas Holy (27 apps/7 clean sheets) – 8
An absolute revelation since being given the nod on the opening day, the big Czech stopper is now the Gills’ undisputed number one. Seven clean sheets so far, his defining display was probably at home to Charlton, one of the best individual keeping performances I can recall.

Stuart Nelson (2 apps/0 clean sheets) – n/a
Only two appearances so far for the veteran former POTY, and seven goals conceded. An absolute star for us over the years, but this will surely be Nels’ last season at the club.

Steve Arnold (2 apps/1 clean sheet) – n/a
Seemed an odd signing in the summer with three keepers already on the books, but has let nobody down in his two starts. Whether he is to have a long term future with the club though, remains to be seen.

Defenders

Luke O’Neill (23 apps/6 clean sheets/3 goals) – 7
Featuring as either part of a defensive three or as an orthodox full back, O’Neill has been a pretty consistent performer since arriving on a free transfer. His delivery from wide has proved an asset, and he’s chipped in with three goals.

Finn O’Mara (4 apps/1 clean sheet/0 goals) – n/a
Impressive in pre-season, local lad Finn made his league debut at Ewood Park in September before starting the live Sky Sports game at home to Portsmouth. Currently on loan at Folkestone Invicta, his future looks bright.

Connor Ogilvie (26 apps/7 clean sheets/0 goals) – 6
Has predominantly featured at full back, and has been steady rather than spectacular. Early in the season he got caught out by a lack of pace, and his distribution is sometimes lacking, surprising considering his Spurs grounding. Improving though.

Bradley Garmston (5 apps/1 clean sheet/0 goals) – n/a
Another campaign so far ruined by injury, he is recently back on the comeback trial yet again. A real shame.

Aaron Simpson (3 apps/1 clean sheet/0 goals) – n/a
Currently he is probably fourth choice left back, but he’s got all the attributes to be a decent attacking full back and hasn’t let anyone down when featuring. Perhaps a January loan move?

Gabriel Zakuani (20 apps/7 clean sheets/0 goals) – 7.5
Affectionately known as ‘The Wall’, he has been superb on the whole. One poor half at home to Northampton is perhaps his only blemish, he’s helped tighten up the Gills defensively with seven shut outs.

Max Ehmer (27 apps/7 clean sheets/1 goal) – 7.5
Took – in my opinion – undue criticism at the start of the season, but since then he’s been superb, and in two different roles. Excelled when filling in as a defensive midfielder, his form has continued now back at the heart of defence.

Ben Nugent (16 apps/4 clean sheets/0 goals) – 6.5
The giant defender is an old fashioned type centre half. Sometimes he looks a little clumsy, and lacks the guile of others, but he gets the job done. Recently back in the side after injury.

Alex Lacey (12 apps/2 clean sheets/1 goal) – 6
Injuries in pre-season and then the autumn have meant a stop start season so far, but he certainly looks to have the tools to be a success at this level.

Jack Tucker (2 apps/0 clean sheets/0 goals) – n/a
Still very young, he was chucked in at the deep end when making his league debut live on Sky Sports in October. His only other appearance came in the EFL Trophy.

Midfielders

Jake Hessenthaler (20 apps/0 goals/2 assists) – 6.5
Out of the side early in the season, Jake fought his way back in through the autumn and has offered protection alongside Mark Byrne. Another steady campaign so far.

Billy Bingham (10 apps/0 goals/1 assist) – 6.5
Being left footed, he adds balance when he plays, but sadly his season has been ruined by injury. Decent in his ten games, he’s currently out with a broken leg.

Mark Byrne (24 apps/3 goals/2 assists) – 7.5
Has really started to shine recently after a steady start to the season. Does all the unseen work that can be missed, and has starting adding goals to his game. Hit a GOTS contender at home to Bristol Rovers.

Darren Oldaker (7 apps/2 goals/0 assists) – n/a
Has all the ability in the world, but sometimes seems to know that which gives the impression of being casual.

Ben Chapman (3 apps/0 goals/1 assist) – n/a
Trusted in pre-season, he didn’t look out of place. Has looked the part in his three games so far.

Bradley Stevenson (1 app/0 goals/0 assists) – n/a
Only one appearance so far, in the EFL Trophy, in which we won a crazy game 7-5. A couple of loan moves indicate he’s not quite ready for the first team just yet.

Scott Wagstaff (22 apps/2 goals/7 assists) – 6.5
Has started to improve his form and looks to be flourishing under Steve Lovell, but constantly picking up niggling injuries is very frustrating. On his day he’s as good as anyone at this level.

Lee Martin (24 apps/2 goals/4 assists) – 6.5
Was a surprise choice as skipper back in the summer, and sometimes looks like a ticking time bomb. Clearly cares though, and is another who has improved with more license to just go and play under Steve Lovell.

Jesse Starkey (1 app/0 goals/0 assists) – n/a
An odd Ady Pennock signing. Got minutes versus Scunthorpe under Peter Taylor, did ok, but hasn’t been seen since.

Sean Clare (23 apps/1 goal/1 assist) – 7
Been a joy to watch and real spark since joining on loan. Takes us up the pitch quickly when in possession with his pace and direct running. Be great to see his spell with us extended until the end of the season.

Elliot List (16 apps/0 goals/1 assist) – 6
Has pace to burn and clearly gives it his all, but seems to always leave you wanting more. Yet to score and only one assist points to a need to improve his end product.

Strikers

Thomas Eaves (25 apps/9 goals/0 assists) – 8
Ridiculed by plenty upon arriving, the big front man hasn’t looked back since his August treble versus Southend. Fast becoming a cult hero, his presence constantly unsettles defenders and his work rate is unmatched. Knows where the net is too.

Greg Cundle (8 apps/1 goal/0 assists) – n/a
The jury is still out on the youngster in my opinion. Genuinely not sure if he is an out and out striker, he sometimes looks to be a clever player, but does he lack the pace and size to be a real success at this level?

Conor Wilkinson (22 apps/2 goals/0 assists) – 5.5
Hasn’t done enough on a consistent basis, which is a shame considering his natural ability. An early season red card and a couple of injuries haven’t helped, meaning he’s been used mainly from the bench.

Josh Parker (30 apps/8 goals/2 assists) – 7.5
Similarly to Tom Eaves, plenty doubted his ability to score on a regular basis, but he’s been first class. Operating in a variety of positions, his pace always offers an outlet, and eight goals before Christmas is an excellent return.

Liam Nash (10 apps/0 goals/0 assists) – 5
Arrived in the summer to plenty of – perhaps misguided – fanfare, which wasn’t fair on him. Has ability for sure, but it’s been a big step up, and one start and no goals is an indication of where he currently is in the pecking order.

Noel M’Bo (1 app/1 goal/0 assists) – n/a
Has scored plenty over the last couple of years at youth level, but similarly to Nash, that’s a fair way away from League 1. Scored his first senior goal in the EFL Trophy which will do him good, but there’s still plenty of naivety in his game.

Special mention too must go to a man who has overseen a turnaround that has been nothing short of remarkable since taking the reigns in October. We had won just a solitary league game up until when Steve Lovell was placed in charge, winning just seven points from 12 matches, or 0.58 points per game.

Since then we have accumulated an almost unbeleivable 19 from 33 available – 1.74 per game – winning five of 11 games and showing form that will see us comfortably finish around mid table if we can sustain it for the remainder of the campaign. I sincerely hope you don’t all agree with everything I have written, as that would be just plain boring, but I do hope you enjoyed the read. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.

Up the Gills!

Post written by GillsInTheBlood
Blog: gillsintheblood.wordpress.com, Twitter: @GillsInTheBlood

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

Image Credits
© Gilligham FC

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