Gaffer | "Northampton will be strong and efficient"

Plenty of analysis conducted ahead of Northampton trip, says Gills boss.

Gills manager Steve Evans is determined to end the calendar year on a high when they travel to Sixfields Stadium on Tuesday to take on Northampton, their final Sky Bet League One game of 2020.

Gillingham, like many teams around the country, including Northampton, had the rarity of being without a fixture on Boxing Day after opposition players had tested positive for Covid-19. With their games postponed, both sides were able to pencil in extra training sessions whilst they got a respite from a congested and gruelling playing schedule.

Evans, speaking with local media ahead of the game, said: “We had a chance to come in and train and the boys have trained well. We are looking forward to this game.

“We have got Vadaine Oliver one hundred percent fit now. He was running about yesterday in training and really impressed. Jordan Graham also has a chance of being available and may play at some stage.”

The break in fixtures also gave Gillingham a few more days to scout potential transfer targets.

Evans said: "We have been looking at possible signings. Three or four players coming in, that is what we are thinking. Maybe we will have to lose one or two along the way to keep the numbers balanced.

“We are speaking to clubs now. I am speaking to sporting directors, managers and agents. We are finding at the minute that a lot of the players we are targeting would be available, subject to their clubs strengthening.

“We will only add to the group if we think the player will genuinely improve us. We have some things that we are working on and that will continue over the next few days.”

In their previous away game, Gillingham arguably put in their strongest performance of the season, a rampant 4-1 dismantling of Rochdale, but Evans will ensure his players do not rest on their laurels.

Tuesday’s hosts Northampton have experienced mixed results this season and may be sitting uncomfortably in the relegation zone, but Evans is not fooled by their league position.

He said: “Northampton are a direct and physical side. We will have to look at our shape and system for this game to try and get the win. We have had a good look at what Northampton are all about; myself and Paul Raynor have studied them to a lengthy degree.

“We have been analysing their players for the last couple of days. They have very good wide players. They have Danny Rose who was absolutely tremendous for me at Mansfield. They have quality all over the pitch and are strong throughout.”

Evans also reserved glowing praise for Cobblers manager Keith Curle. The former Manchester City, Wolves and England defender achieved promotion from Sky Bet League Two as manager of Northampton last year and has said ahead of this game that his focus now is on League One survival.

Speaking about his counterpart, Evans said: “Keith Curle has worked wonders. He gets brilliant support from a brilliant chairman and he delivers. He got them promoted and they have started this season incredibly well. I personally think that they will be fine and the minimum place they should be is in League One.

“Northampton are organised and very efficient under Keith Curle. We will go there and work extremely hard, hopefully just as hard as the opposition, and if we do, we can get a result.”