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A catch up with the Gaffer

Steve Evans answers a few questions following the conclusion of the play-offs.

1 June 2021

The Gills boss updates the supporters on a variety of subjects.

Q1: With the EFL 1 play-offs now concluded, the league's promoted teams are very much as you predicted two weeks ago?

A: Yes, very much so.
I never hid from the fact that I thought Blackpool would win the play-offs. It is not always the case of the best three teams being promoted in any season but with Hull City, Peterborough United and Blackpool, that was certainly the case this year.
I have sent my personal congratulations to Grant McCann, Darren Ferguson and Neil Critchley.
Q2: League 1 looks daunting next season with some real football giants competing for, ultimately, three promotion places?
A: When you consider the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic, Rotherham United, Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth, Lincoln City and Oxford United, all clubs with outstanding fan bases and big resources, it demonstrates clearly how tough it will be for us to improve on this season's outstanding top 10 finish.
However, we are not running away from the challenges ahead, we need to embrace them and, most of all, be prepared. Recruitment and infrastructure are always key, the rest takes care of itself!
Q3: You have announced our pre-season schedule of matches, it looks tough?
A3: I have always believed you need to be tested. Playing against local sides and winning easily is not my idea of getting prepared.
Our three home friendlies against QPR, Posh and Millwall are a real test, as is going away to Colchester United and Leyton Orient respectively.
Q4: Today is the start of June and, as yet, we have not made any new signings, how is that progressing?
A4: There has not been one day since we finished the season where I have not met up with players or agents, most of all new prospects and, of course, a couple of our current group.
I am more than hopeful that a number of those chats will lead to new players arriving. It is vastly important, perhaps more than any other season, that we get our recruitment right.
Signing the wrong players or some in haste is not what we can do. After lots of days and weeks researching and doing the miles, I know which players  I would like here and that task continues.
Q5: Much has been made of your meetings with our Chairman, how have they gone?
A5: The Chairman has been wholly supportive. Would he like to give me greater resources to build the squad? Of course he would, but we have just come through the severe difficulties of last season and he should be applauded.
I am with the Boss again tomorrow to discuss several players who I have been in talks with and, as always, I will take his direction on what we can financially offer.
Q6: Will you be getting a holiday soon?
A6: I haven’t even thought about getting away. My staff are all away or just about to go, and they deserve it. I give them a clean break and get on with my job.
Q7: Can our supporters expect any signings this week?
A7: I would certainly think so, but you learn in football nothing is certain until the contract is signed.
I will continue to work hard and put together a team our supporters can be proud of in a campaign in EFL 1 next season that will be as strong as it’s ever been.
What I do know is that is we fail to plan then it’s planning to fail…. That is simply not an option.

There will be more from The Gaffer later in the week.

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