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Gaffer | "We will pick players on form"

Steve Evans keen to protect squad ahead of busy festive period.

7 December 2020


Gaffer | "We will pick players on form"

Steve Evans keen to protect squad ahead of busy festive period.

7 December 2020

All members of the squad need to be ready for hectic winter schedule, says Gills boss.

Steve Evans lauded his players after their third straight Sky Bet League One victory on Saturday against Swindon, with Gills unbeaten in five.

Goals from Vadaine Oliver and substitute Trae Coyle saw the Kent side beat a threatening Swindon team as they move to within three points of the play-offs.

The Gillingham manager spoke with local media after the game to discuss their impressive recent run and looked ahead to this Tuesday night’s Papa John’s EFL Trophy clash with Cambridge.


Beating Swindon

“I was really concerned at the start of the game. We felt a little bit like a European side, after playing Wednesday night away at Bristol. The team coach came back at something like three o’clock in the morning. The performance was so emphatic against Bristol, we went with the same team. In hindsight that might be a different decision going forward.

“We looked lost for the first fifteen minutes of the game, we had to grind our way into it. We got a goal against the run of play. What a finish from Vadaine Oliver!

“We get back in the game and I had no doubt when it fell to Trae Coyle that he is going to put us 2-0 ahead. It’s a good result.”


Finding a way to win

“We have only got a small squad but it has been designed to fit the smallest budget in the league. If we had a team of 26, they would all be average players. We haven’t got average players, we’ve got good players, very good players. We are a young side and we are learning; they have learnt more against Swindon.

“We are not the best side in League One, I don’t think we can be with what we spend against others. But we can work as hard as any other side in League One. We can be as organised as any other side in League One.

“All we have to do is keep trying to win games. Where that takes us, we will find out in time. We are on the cusp of the play-offs now.”


Trae Coyle

“I never had any doubt when he went one-on-one, that’s what the kid is brilliant at. He is a sublime finisher. He is 18 and learning his trade, and he is learning that you have to work hard to get on the pitch to start.

“A few would claim to be the best finisher at the Club; but being able to naturally finish, Trae is pretty special.”



Tuesday’s cup match with Cambridge

“We will regroup and make ten or eleven changes. I think it is obvious that Trae will play. It is a wonderful opportunity for the players coming in to turn up at Cambridge and produce a performance that could get them a start at Doncaster next Saturday in the league.

“We have shown as a management team that we don’t care about reputations. We pick players on form. If you deserve to play, then you are playing. 

“Cambridge is a great club. When I was a local rival manager at Peterborough, I would go there quite a few times and watch games, and I’d want to see them win. It will be great to go there and hear supporters. The Abbey is a tight little stadium so it will be a nice atmosphere.

“We will do what we need to do on Tuesday. We will want to win. We are looking forward to the game. We will go there and try and represent our Club and wear the badge with pride, but we need to protect our squad after the run of games we have had and the run of games coming up.”

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