Gillingham v Rotherham: Neil Harris hopes to pull off 'miracle' by escaping League One relegation

Can Neil Harris and Gillingham FC pull off the great escape on the final day of the League One season?

If the League One season started when Neil Harris walked back through the door at Priestfield, Gillingham would be safe from relegation already.

Instead, they go into the final match of a bruising campaign, needing what the Gills boss has called "a real miracle", to escape dropping into League Two.

The Kent side host Rotherham United, who are chasing the League One title and automatic promotion.

But Gillingham's fate is out of their hands. Even with a win against the Millers, they need to rely on Fleetwood slipping up at Bolton or Morecambe losing against Sunderland.

  • Gillingham FC Captain Stuart O'Keefe believes the club are ready for the challenge

In the minds of most fans, Gillingham's relegation to the fourth tier was all but sealed when they found themselves ten points adrift of safety after a humiliating 7-2 defeat to Oxford United in January.

Gillingham were ten points adrift of safety on the day Neil Harris took over as manager

But Harris' appointment has injected some hope back into the Rainham End for the final day of the season. Since then, the Gills have picked up 21 points from 17 games - a total beating 11 other teams.

The damage to Gillingham's campaign was done in the first half of the campaign under then boss Steve Evans.

Evans was in the final year of his three year contract at Priestfield, having successfully taken the club to 10th on a tight budget. But his fortunes turned and he left the club in early January.

Steve Evans left Gillingham in January

But Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has admitted he made a "big mistake" not sacking him sooner.

In his annual report to fans, published on the club's website, he said: “Looking back, the big mistake I made was not based on appointing Steve Evans as our manager, but more so for not removing him three months before I did."

“I have beaten myself up many times over this, it haunts me at the damage and distress that decision caused to everyone working within the club, and to the very fabric of the club, the damage that decision has caused to me personally, to my health, to my family and friends.

"It was a monumental mistake.

Gillingham FC Chairman Paul Scally

“His conduct during that period (of the current campaign) took me personally to perhaps some of the darkest places I have ever experienced in my football life, if not entire life, they were difficult, distressing and painful times.

"I battled to keep attending games, to do the things I’ve done for 26 years, to keep believing we could keep the club going with reduced incomes and higher player costs due to situations outside of our control and it took every ounce of inner character, strength and help from those close to me to keep going.

  • Watch: Andy Dickenson's report on Gillingham's relegation to League Two in 2010.

“I can only now look forward and work towards a better tomorrow for myself and all connected to this great club, it’s a recovery process and the appointment of Neil Harris, the response of the players, fans, sponsors and staff, is certainly helping that process.”

Neil Harris scored his 94th league goal for Millwall against Rotherham to surpass a club record set by Teddy Sherringham.

Now he faces them again from the Gillingham dugout, in a unique position where he won't be blamed if they are relegated, but will be written into the history books at Priestfield if he can pull off the great escape.