Essam ecstatic after debut

Hessenthaler: Happy with youngster

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Connor Essam is hoping for more memorable moments with Gillingham after reflecting on his debut for the club this week.

Essam, 19, enjoyed five loan spells away from Priestfield before finally breaking into Andy Hessenthaler's team, coming on as a second-half substitute in Monday night's 2-1 defeat to Southend.

And while he would have preferred a better result, he told the club's official website: "It was a very proud moment.

"It wasn't easy to come into but no matter when it is you will always remember your debut - and in front of the Sky cameras, that's another thing to remember."

Essam, who could make his first start at Port Vale on Saturday following injury to Andy Frampton, added: "The fans got behind me and I think they always will. They like to see the youngsters coming through. In the past we've had some good ones and it's nice to know they are behind you.

"It's nice to be back, obviously I've been away for a while so it's a bit strange coming back, especially with the postponed games as it was a bit tough just hanging about, but it's nice to be back in the squad."