Hess fields fringe players

Hessenthaler: Prepares for season

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Manager Andy Hessenthaler handed game time to strikers Dennis Oli and Stefan Payne in Gillingham XI's 1-0 loss to Ebbsfleet.

With summer signing Adam Birchall ruled out until the new year having damaging his cruciate ligament in pre-season, Hessenthaler is desperate for reinforcements to aid Danny Kedwell in attack.

And having both suffered with niggling injuries of late, both Oli and Payne were handed time on the pitch at Ebbsfleet to build up their match fitness.

Oli (back) started the friendly and managed an hour while Payne (groin) played the entire second half, with both coming through unscathed.

Hessenthaler, who has used Kedwell as a lone striker to good effect in pre-season and has that option available to him, also had a second look at Southend trialist Matt Paterson.