Gaffer busy as he looks to identify targets ahead of the 2021/22 season.
In a season like no other, the Gills finished in 10th place for a second successive campaign earlier this month. The Gaffer knows that it was not just a challenge for his side, but every single club up and down the country with all the trials and tribulations that were faced.
“It’s been the most difficult year, hasn’t it? There are teams that have won promotion when in other years they wouldn’t have," Steve said. "And some teams have got relegated when in other years they wouldn’t have done.
“No spectators, playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, changed kick-off times, having to travel on the day because of the COVID-19 rules around the country with different regions and having different rules. It has been a very difficult season.”
Gills were in the play-off hunt until the final two games, finishing just seven points off the top six. Despite a strong end to the season, Evans realises that it was their early form that perhaps cost them. However, he knows that the frustration of missing out on the top six will only drive everyone at the football club to achieve that goal next season.
“For us as a club, we started very slowly as we never got it right in the early part of the season, and we learnt from that. If you don’t learn quickly, you get into trouble, but we learnt quickly and adapted in January.
“We are really disappointed that we didn’t finish the season in the play-offs. You have to take that disappointment and channel it to become more assertive and aggressive to get in there next year.”
Gillingham’s retained list was announced last week, where it was confirmed that Alex MacDonald and Stuart O’Keefe would be extending their contracts. Both played a key role in the second half of last season, and Evans reinforced that they are the type of players you want at a football club.
“I was really keen to keep Alex MacDonald and really keen to keep Stuart O’Keefe. Those lads were easy, and they sat in my office and said the words ‘I want to stay’, and it was done in 24 hours. That’s what you want. You want commitment, and you want people that are wanting to be around us. I want players that want to be here.”
Despite being in the off season, there is no room for rest for the Gills boss. After already travelling the country, Evans still has plenty more to do before the Gills players return for pre-season.
“Yes, it’s manic with pre-season, pre-season games, pre-season schedule, and new recruits," he added. "I’ve been to Scotland, Manchester, the North-West, and the South-West over the last week, so that tells you it’s a busy time. I’ve always done it every year.”