Gillingham’s new signing Callum Harriott must prove his fitness before being selected by manager Neil Harris

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Gillingham fans won’t be seeing new signing Callum Harriott in action just yet.

The players needs time to get his fitness levels up after 18 months without competitive action and manager Neil Harris admits the winger is “a long way off.”

Callum Harriott in action for one of his old clubs, Charlton Athletic. He's hoping to reignite his career at Gillingham but must prove his fitness first Picture: Keith Gillard
Callum Harriott in action for one of his old clubs, Charlton Athletic. He’s hoping to reignite his career at Gillingham but must prove his fitness first Picture: Keith Gillard

Gillingham have been scouring the free agent market for additions and the former Reading winger is seen as someone who can make in impact, when fully fit. He’s agreed a “short-term deal” with the Gills and the situation will be assessed again after the Christmas period.

Harriott will hope to have made an impression by then.

Gills manager Harris said: “Callum was one that came onto the radar last week, he has not played football for 18 months, he is not up to speed fitness-wise.

“He lives local and he wanted to come in and work with us in the short term, initially. We are going to give him the opportunity to prove himself over the coming weeks and see where it takes us.

“Callum has come in short-term, hungry to have an opportunity, and we have been a bit lacking at the top end of the pitch, he is not going to effect the team in the coming weeks but we will see what the mid-term brings.

“He is a long way off fitness at the moment, so we are talking weeks, he is not going to effect the pitch for a number of weeks, but his pedigree and quality over a period of time is very impressive.

“I have know him from my teams playing against him, he has end product, he has pace, attributes that could help any side at this level. It is one step at a time with him and I need to focus on the group that I can control at the moment, in terms of who is available and who is not, and we will pick Callum up as we go along, fitness-wise.”

Harriott, 28, started out at Charlton and then spent three years at Reading before joining Colchester in 2019, the last side he played for before being released in May 2021.

The player spent time out of the game after being accused of raping a woman. He was unanimously found not guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court in August but hasn’t played since.

In a statement he released after the trial he said that he was “devastated by the false claim” and that his career has been shattered.

He’s determined to make an impact back on the field and after signing on Wednesday he told the club he wasn’t far away from being available to play.

He said: “I am hoping I can bring that magic in a game and help with goals and assists. I will always work hard. I am not too far away in terms of fitness.

“I’ve been training, I will build myself up so I can do what I need to do.”