Gaffer | "We need to be ready"

Steve Evans looking forward to Blackpool challenge.

Gillingham play host to Blackpool on Saturday afternoon looking to record their first home league win of the season.

Gills defeated Wigan Athletic 3-2 at the DW Stadium last weekend prior to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Stoke City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.

The Seasiders come into the game off the back of an impressive 2-0 win over Swindon, watched by 1000 socially-distanced Pool supporters, having made several additions to their squad over the summer.

Despite competing on different budgets, Steve Evans believes his team will be able to hold their own and demonstrate the hard work being put in behind the scenes.

“Apart from Peterborough, they are the big spenders in the league in terms of their recruitment, they won on Saturday and we need to be ready,” said the Gills boss.

“They signed Christopher Hamilton, CJ, who I found in the reserves when I went to Mansfield, he is a really good player. They signed young Jerry Yates who I signed at Rotherham and gave him his debut. He is a top young striker. They have just signed the boy Luke Garbutt, and five or six teams in the Championship wanted him.

“They have very good players and they’re able to spend, at this level, decent money. We are very respectful to what they have, but we will be decent aswell.

“We have to work to our own game plan and ensure we are at our best, as we were for long spells against Wigan.”

Evans was left cursing his luck when Matty Willock left the field midweek against Stoke with a hamstring injury, but he is confident that his players can adapt their game for the challenge. 

“We’ve been throwing the unlucky part of the dice,” he said. “Over the season it’s fairly unusual if you don’t get the unlucky part of it, but we’ve got it earlier than most.

“Jack Bonham had a fitness test this morning. You don’t expect to lose Matty Willock, Stuart O’Keefe and Kyle Dempsey, three central midfield players, all in the space of two weeks.

“We’ve been working extremely hard on organisation on the training ground. We’ve got good players who can slot into different roles, so we’re fortunate. We accept it and go forward.”

Something the Gillingham manager is finding hard to accept is the lack of financial help from Premier League clubs in this most difficult of seasons, and he feels immediate action is needed to prevent clubs from potentially disappearing.

“My personal view is that it is shameful that the Premier League has not stepped in with some measure of help," the manager said. "They’ve sat away from us and ignored us. Now the other side of the coin is that they won’t get crowds themselves.

“But they’ve got TV media revenue that’s allowed them to buy players at 50, 60, maybe 80, 90 million pounds.

“That contributes largely to players on £600,000 a week. You see the levels of League One and Two and some in the Championship; they might not be here to see 2021. That’s the reality of the matter.”

Evans reserved praise for Gillingham Chairman Paul Scally and revealed his hopes of adding a few new faces to the dressing room.

“This isn’t a hobby to Paul Scally, this has been his business for 25 years. The club has never been in financial debt since he’s walked in. It’s actually a superbly run Club that doesn’t overspend. In these times we can’t overspend. So if there is any flexibility with me and the Chairman, I’ll have to be able to convince clubs who have a lot more flexibility to help us a little bit.”