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Gillingham are all set for their first ever season in the Premier League - but have no intention of just making up the numbers.
The Gills, who won the South East Combination title last season, start off with a local derby clash against Charlton Athletic and they have bolstered their squad with several signings.
Three players - Stacey McConville, Laura Jeffery and Lauren Phillips - have been signed from Millwall Lionesses, Sian Cheedy has arrived from Crystal Palace, Lauren Williams makes the move from Arsenal while Danielle Carlton and Natalie Farbrace have been snapped up from Milton & Fulston and Deal Town respectively.
These new arrivals will go alongside established players such as prolific strikers Ashlee Hincks and Natalie Crinean, plus highly rated young midfielder Deanna Cooper.
Reserve team manager Sean Edwards has been promoted to Technical Director, working with manager Ian Varley coaching the first team. Aaron Perry has taken over the reserves, assisted by Matt Adkins.
The immediate hopes for the new campaign are to consolidate their position in the Southern Division and build from there, something which Ian Varley feels is well within his side's capabilities. "Everyone at the club is really looking forward to the new season," he says. "It's something new as the club has never played at this level previously but we're aiming to give a good account of ourselves this season and push towards the top end of the league.
"Consistency is the key this season as there are no guaranteed results in this league. Every team is capable of beating anyone and if we are to challenge at the top end of the table, then we will have to be consistent. I've said all along that if we turn it on, then we can beat anyone, so it is up to myself, Sean and the players to make sure we perform week in week out.
"There are some established teams at this level who, in truth, should be achieving more than what they have done but that's all down to ambition. All we can do is concentrate on our own ambitions and hopefully achieve promotion to the National Division. I believe in the players we have and believe promotion can be achieved this season."
Gillingham's reserves will also be playing Premier League football for the first time in the Reserve Section and they are looking to have their best season ever.
The club is also ambitious and inventive off the field and Gillingham Ladies TV will be launching in a few weeks, with highlights and interviews from pre-season, as they continue to push the boundaries of coverage for the club.
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