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Interviews

Gaffer | "I believe in them"

Steve Evans says he has full belief in his players as Gills make the long journey north to take on Hull City.

26 March 2021

Gills boss says his team are a very capable group and will continue to work hard in search for a League 1 play-off spot.

Steve Evans is hopeful that his Gillingham team can tame Hull City on Saturday as they continue to mount a late assault on the top six.

The Gills manager has seen his in-form side inch themselves to within two points of the play-offs, losing only once in their last seven fixtures and scoring 15 times in the process.

This weekend, however, they face their toughest task yet. The Tigers sit at the summit of Sky Bet League One and look set to boomerang straight back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

A confident Evans, who has told his men to play “without fear” at the KCOM Stadium, spoke with the local press via Zoom ahead of this weekend’s crunch game.

 

A respite in fixtures

“It been good for the players to not have a midweek game. We have given the bulk of the first-team players a couple of days off, just to freshen them up. We have gone for about six weeks playing every Saturday, then Tuesday. It’s been 14 or 15 players who have been trying to deliver top performances in League One.

“We did some work on the training ground today. The boys are looking, bright, fresh and strong; there is no sign of fatigue or tiredness, and that comes from the team spirit and winning games. We are now looking forward to going to Hull.”

 

Belief

“I’ve always believed in this team. They are very capable young men, individually and collectively. They have been terrific. We have some real positive characters in the group. That is why we are still fighting for what would be a great prize. We are fighting because the boys are producing so much effort.

“The players are on social media, I don’t do it myself, and they feel the support. There isn’t any manager, unless he is a player-manager, who can go out and win games. He can help them and he can lead his team to victory, but the real people that produce the performances are the players.

“We always understand the opposition and we do our homework and brief our players. The players win football matches, and our players have a real belief at the moment. I have belief in them.”

 

Dominic Samuel returns

“He will travel, but I’m not sure yet if he will take a place on the bench. He completed 70 minutes in a reserve game in the week, but that was his first competitive action.

“On Saturday, it may be better to turn behind us at some stage and see Dominic Samuel sat there, because what you have got sat there is a goal scorer. There is nothing better for a manager then looking behind you and seeing someone who can score a goal.

“He has been training so well in the last 10 days and he will be desperate to get on the pitch at Hull.”

 

Hull on the road

“They are a terrific team. They have an outstanding manager (Grant McCann) and someone I am relatively close to. They are a football club that I really respect.

“They are a terrific football club and they have players full of Championship quality. Without a doubt, this is the toughest game of the season. They have multiple options at their disposal, but that is what happens when you have recently been in the Premier League and Championship, you drop back with some real talent. They will be a threat; they play in a particular shape, a particular way, and they are very good at home. We have to be at our best, or we will lose.

“I said to our players, that we need to work on a plan and get it 100 percent right. We need to take chances when they come, as they may come at a premium on Saturday. When the chances come, we need to score goals. Let’s see what we can produce on Saturday. We have to play intelligent football, with no fear. If we go there and fear them, we will get nothing from the game.

“Are we capable of getting something? Absolutely.”


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