WHEN Jamie Day tells Cherries to expect a hard time against Andy Hessenthaler’s Gillingham, they should take note. He is speaking from experience.

If cup clashes against Hessenthaler and his team are up for discussion, the ex-Dean Court man is well placed to comment.

From midfield tussles to dugout mind games and FA Cup meetings to Kent Senior showdowns, Day can draw on first-hand knowledge to predict what lies ahead at Priestfield tonight.

“It is going to be a tough game,” warned the Welling United player-manager. “It will probably be physical and it is going to test Bournemouth.”

Rewind to January 2001 and Cherries are hosting Gills in the FA Cup third round.

Former England youth international Day was making one of his 29 appearances for the Dorset club. And while the match ended in controversy as Paul Shaw grabbed a hotly-disputed winner for the visitors at Dean Court, Day also found himself in the news.

Then Gillingham’s player-boss, Hessenthaler ended up in Poole General Hospital and on the sidelines following a scrape with Day and his Predator boots.

The Cherries midfielder was absolved of blame by his opponent, while Sean O’Driscoll revealed officials from adidas were to take his boots for analysis to ensure the safety of the then new bladed sole.

“The tackle and what happened to Hess was the thing that made the headlines,” recalled Day in an interview with the Daily Echo yesterday.

“We had a free-kick and I tried to take it quickly. Hess cut it out and his touch came back towards me and we both went in for the tackle.

“It was just a normal tackle and he ended up coming off a little bit worse because of the boots.

“I didn’t see the cut and I have spoken to Hess since then and he is fine about it. It was just one of those things that happen.

“It was unfortunate that it wasn’t a nice injury and, thankfully, he made a full recovery.”

That was not to be the last of the duo’s cup meetings. Fast forward a decade and they found themselves in opposing technical areas last month, when Day’s Welling United dumped Gills out of the Kent Senior Cup.

First-time boss Day now often turns to his experienced counterpart for advice – and he gave an insight into why Cherries should be wary ahead of this evening’s replay.

“Hess was a great player – very energetic, all over the place and he was a winner,” said Day. “He is the same as a manager. He wants to win every game.

“He is doing well at Gillingham and I can see why – he is a winner.

“Hess will get them ready and whatever happens – even if they are not playing particularly well – they will still have a go and give 100 per cent for him.

“That is what he expects from the players and, 99 per cent of the time, that is what they give him.”

While Day is enjoying his first crack in management at Welling, he admits to having regrets about his brief spell in Dorset.

Having joined Cherries from Arsenal for £20,000 in March 1999, he scored once before being placed on the transfer list at his own request.

“Looking back now, it was a disappointing time for me,” said Day, a former Grays team-mate of Cherries star Mark Molesley. “I didn’t play enough games and that was partly my fault as well.

“I probably didn’t adapt to the league and probably didn’t train hard enough to get a place in the team and keep it.

“I also didn’t think I was given a fair crack at it, but I didn’t apply myself properly and if I had done, I would have probably stayed a bit longer.

“I loved the area and the place and it was just a shame it didn’t work out for me.”