Gillingham boss Justin Edinburgh hoping to upset former club Tottenham

Gillingham boss Justin Edinburgh hoping to upset former club Tottenham

Gillingham boss Justin Edinburgh dreams of managing Tottenham one day and wants to impress his former club by knocking them out of the EFL Cup.

Edinburgh returns to White Hart Lane on Wednesday for the first time as a player or manager since spending 10 years there between 1990 and 2000.

The 46-year-old is now into his second full season in charge of Gillingham and for the first time will be cheering on a Spurs defeat when the teams meet in the EFL Cup third round.

Tottenham, however, remain close to Edinburgh's heart and he would love to stand in Mauricio Pochettino's place at some point in the future.

"I have ambitions and I want to manage in the Premier League. If I could pick a club, Spurs would be my dream job," Edinburgh told Press Association Sport.

"But then do you ever get your dream job? Some people do. I started in the seventh tier of English football and I'm now two away. I'm a lot closer than I was.

"That's my dream. Winning at White Hart Lane would help of course. You get recognised by your team doing well and getting good results, and hopefully that's the case come Wednesday."

After a three-year spell at Portsmouth, Edinburgh began playing and coaching at non-league Billericay Town before managerial stints at Fisher Athletic, Grays Athletic, Rushden & Diamonds and Newport led him to Gillingham in League One.

It is 13 years since Edinburgh started coaching in the Isthmian League Premier Division with Billericay and he believes British coaches should not be afraid of cutting their teeth lower down.

"If someone had offered me a job at the top end I would have taken it because you always back yourself," Edinburgh said.

"But if ex-players are waiting for big jobs, I can't see why they wouldn't start lower down. It's still managing. It's been invaluable to me and I'm a better manager for it.

"There are times when I was wondering if I had done the right thing and wondering if I was going to be labelled a non-league manager.

"But I still had the belief and drive to get there and I did get there. It's proven that it can be a good route to take."

The EFL Cup has certain significance for Edinburgh, who won the competition with Tottenham in 1999 but was sent off in the final against Leicester after an altercation with Robbie Savage.

"No-one was going to stop me getting a medal that's for sure," Edinburgh said.

"I was angry with the decision. I think it was unjust and I still do to this day. The referee got it completely and utterly wrong.

"Of course it takes the shine off it a little bit. I had family and friends there, my children and my wife, but for the club and the supporters and my team-mates, the outcome was a good one."

Gillingham have endured an inconsistent start to the season in League One and sit 13th in the table, but they have form for upsetting Premier League opposition, after beating Watford 2-1 in the second round.

"There's not going to be any photo-taking or anything, we won't be like that," Edinburgh said.

"It's an opportunity to perform in a fantastic arena in front of a big crowd. You don't just want to go there for a ride, you want people to be talking about you for the right reasons after the game.

"We know it's going to be a monumental task but it's a one-off game, we've beaten a Premier League side already and we know what we're capable of."