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Josh Wright released by Gillingham

Credit: Kent Pro Images

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Josh Wright released by Gillingham

Kent Pro Images

Josh Wright released by Gillingham

Former Gills skipper, Player of the Year and top scorer released by the club after apparent fall-out with head coach Adrian Pennock

Gillingham’s season has been dealt a fresh blow with the news that last season’s top scorer Josh Wright has had his contract terminated by mutual consent.

The news was broken by Sky Sports News, who cited their usual ‘Sky Sources’ to report Wright’s departure from Priestfield. At time of writing there has been no official confirmation from the club.

Wright, who spent two spells at the club, making eight appearances on loan from Charlton as he helped Gillingham to promotion from League Two via the playoffs in 2009, then rejoining the club on a permanent basis in 2015, eventually becoming club captain and winning a host of end-of-season awards during his time at the club.

Last season was arguably his best for the club as, following a positional switch from his usual holding role to an attacking midfield role, he hit 14 goals in all competitions to finish the campaign as Gills’ top goalscorer.

Credit: Kent Pro Images

Like many of his teammates, Wright struggled to hit the ground running at the start of this season and missed a last-gasp spot-kick as the Gills fell to a 1-0 defeat at MK Dons. The 27-year-old tweeted after the game to offer his apologies to the travelling Gills fans.

Wright was subsequently left out of the squad altogether for the following game, at home to Southend United, with head coach Adrian Pennock telling the Kent Messenger that Wright “didn’t want to be on the bench” after being left out of the starting lineup for the game.

Wright, however, refuted those claims, tweeting: “It’s not for me to go into it right now but just remember always two sides to stories etc but yes I was fit and available today that’s it.”

He then followed up with: “As said I can’t say much but all I will say is I DID NOT REFUSE TO BE ON THE BENCH”

And now, in the aftermath of the Southend game, which finished in a 3-3 draw, Wright has been released by the club. Despite reported interest from Wright’s old club Charlton Athletic, the club haven’t looked to gain a fee for the player, instead simply letting him go.

Fan reaction to the move has been overwhelmingly negative, with some fans calling for Pennock to resign as a result.

That’s unlikely to happen, but with Gillingham currently in the relegation zone and still searching for their first win after five games played this season, all eyes are on Pennock as he looks to establish himself, and his team, in a tough-looking League One division this season.


Reaction

Josh Wright’s older brother, television personality Mark Wright, took to Twitter after the news broke to share his opinion on the story.

Mark hinted that Josh believed there was friction between the two as a result of Josh’s good relationship with departing Gills boss Justin Edinburgh.

By James Boyes via Wikimedia Commons

Mark also referenced Pennock’s commented reasoning behind Josh losing the captain’s armband at the club and how, despite the Gills boss’s statement that he wanted a captain at centre half, this season’s skipper is ‘a winger’.

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