Gillingham strike force decimated ahead of clash with Port Vale

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Andy Hessenthaler has a striker crisis ahead of Gillingham’s trip to Port Vale, severely denting their chances of picking up any points against the League Two leaders.

Gillingham have scored 15 goals in 11 league games this season but will be without their two first team strikers.

Adebayo Akinfenwa and Cody McDonald, 20/1 and 33/1 to be League Two’s top goalscorer, will sit out the clash with injury troubles, leaving the door open for midweek reserve team scorers, Stefan Payne and Mark McCammon.

Akinfenwa played in last Saturday’s win over Stockport despite a groin problem, and Hessenthaler has revealed that Akinfenwa will undergo treatment, leaving the striker on the sidelines for the next 10 days.

“Akinfenwa has a groin problem, it’s something that he has been carrying for a while now and he just can’t carry on playing,” said Hessenthaler.

“f I asked him to play, he probably would, because that’s the type of lad he is but if you do that then you risk longer term damage.”

McDonald has a calf strain which isn’t as serious as Akinfenwa’s, but will rule him out of Saturday’s game.

However McDonald’s loss will be the bigger blow as the striker was in top form, scoring three goals in his previous four games.

“We had hoped he might be fit because lately he has looked like he would score in every game,” said Hessenthaler.

The two strikers have scored seven of the 15 Gillingham goals this season and Hessenthaler will be hoping his back-up strikers and midfielders can find the back of the net against Port Vale in a game Gillingham are 10/3 to win.

Chris Palmer has four goals this season from midfield and is Gillingham’s best chance of scoring on Saturday.

Port Vale are 5/6 to beat Gillingham. See the full League Two football betting odds market here.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.