Gaffer at the Weekend

Gills boss Steve Evans answers a few questions following Saturday's 2-2 draw at Sunderland.

Q: It was a long trip back to Kent last night. Having had chance to take everything in, what was your assessment of Saturday's game?

A1: It was a game keenly contested by two good teams.

We asked the lads for a positive response after last week and we certainly got that with our energy and intensity levels back at our normal levels.

I cannot help but believe that, despite scoring late, we deserved to win. Sunderland’s second goal is clearly offside and unacceptable from the assistant referee.

Q: Mika Mandron was back in the starting XI and netted twice. He took both goals really well and gives you a few selection headaches going forward?

A2: I thought the lad did well throughout and his goals were both superbly taken.

Mika, as he accepts, needs consistency in his performance levels going forward. He is a smashing lad who everyone loves so it’s important for him to be focused.

I also thought Brandon Hanlan and John Akinde when he came on did well too.

Q: It must be pleasing knowing that when players are getting introduced, such as Mika, and Regan in recent weeks, that they are making the desired impact?

A3: We only have 18 players in our first team squad but I really do believe every one of them can play a part.

We have a fantastic dressing room led by our Captain Max Ehmer who again produced a super performance alongside Jack Bonham and Alfie Jones, who looked more like himself winning most of the central midfield duels.

Q: I know you were disappointed with the goals that we conceded but after rescuing a point with around 15 seconds to play, were you at least satisfied to take a point?

A4: As I said earlier it is always mixed feelings when you score late to get a point but you believe it should have been all 3.

Sunderland are a really good team with several outstanding players so our task was always going to be a tough one but I was delighted with how the lads played and how they delivered the game plan.

Q: Fleetwood becomes a huge game next week. Do you think we need to win to keep our top six hopes alive?

A5: Alongside Coventry City, Fleetwood are the form team.

They have an excellent young Manager in Joey Barton and he has put together a superb squad of players.

For me next Saturday it is about performance and giving ourselves the chance to win.

Fleetwood have recently beat Peterborough United, Ipswich Town, Portsmouth and a lot more so our task, is again, massive but we will have a busy and brilliant support at Priestfield.... that is so important as they are often the twelfth man for us.

Q: 473 fans made the journey to Sunderland yesterday; a magnificent effort. They were up in the gods but made themselves heard?

A6: I said yesterday the fans were brilliant and I cannot think of once when they were not.

We often speak to the players about how much it means to the supporters, the result, performance, and never say die efforts.

Q: Barry Fuller took a whack towards the end and was only just able to hobble around for the last few minutes. Is there an update on his injury?

A7: Barry got a whack on his knee but thankfully it’s nothing serious.

He has been in today for treatment and he will be fully assessed in the morning.

He is a soldier and he will do everything he can to be ready for Fleetwood, I believe he will be okay.

Q: We have Dover on Tuesday in the Kent Cup. Personnel wise who is likely to be involved? Can we expect mainly youth team players?

A8: Yes it will be mainly youth team players with perhaps two of the senior group playing.

It’s important we make that clear to our supporters so we do not have fans that travel down to Dover and be left disappointed when the teams are announced. Simply this match, for us, is a youth and U23 fixture.

I myself will be going to watch Portsmouth and Fleetwood. My preparations for next Saturday have already begun this morning when I watched the full Fleetwood and Blackpool from yesterday, Fleetwood will be tough!

We need a big support on Saturday, we need you to help us keep the play-off dream alive.