Steve Evans says the club is determined to finish as high as possible as the squad prepares to lock horns with Plymouth in Gills final game of the season.
Managing a football club through a pandemic has been by far the toughest challenge of Steve Evans’ career. The Gills turned up to their first training session of the season in Canterbury with just six players… it’s fair to say they have come a long way since then.
The play-offs might have come agonisingly close only to fade away, but the Gills boss would like nothing more than to sign off a valiant campaign with a win on Sunday against Plymouth Argyle.
Before the final curtain closes on the 2020/2021 Sky Bet League One season, Evans sat down to face the local press on Zoom to preview their final fixture.
Final game of the season
“I’ve always seen final days of the season in two ways. Supporters want to appreciate and give a special shout and applause to players who have given them the chance to dream. The other side of the coin is that I want to lead my group to applaud our supporters, and that is what is missing.
“We have a passionate fan base who want to win as much as we do and they have missed some great days and great nights this season. It is now an opportunity to win and thank each other and we will hopefully move on from this pandemic year in football to get back to what we know and then we can again appreciate the game we love.
“Players should want to play in the final game, it’s the last memory that they will give everyone of their season. We have an opportunity to finish in the top ten. Let’s not let our standards drop, we need to make sure we win to get into that top half.”
“We are really desperate to get a place in the top ten, we want to finish as high as we can. I always say that for the last game of any season, whatever you are playing for, you want to finish the season on a positive note. We have had a few days off, we are fresh and bright, and we would like to win this one.
“It may be an opportunity for one or two younger players to play but first and foremost we want to win. There are one or two younger players we have just given contracts to, we would like to see them on the pitch at some stage. Every supporter loves one of their own. We want to win but we will try, if it is at the right time and we can do it, to introduce one or two lads to give them a special feeling over the summer and get them ready for that big step up to being involved in the first team next season.
“Plymouth are a decent opponent; we are looking forward to the game.”
Playing for the supporters
“Quite rightfully our supporters want to win this game. I was watching the club that I love most in the world, Glasgow Celtic, get trounced by Glasgow Rangers last weekend. There was nothing in the game but I still wanted Celtic to win. I got let down. We don’t want to let our supporters down, we want to win and we want to finish the season positively.
“The lads have been nothing short of fantastic for all of the campaign. The ones who came in January gave us some real hope. We have had some special wins and good performances against some absolutely quality teams. Hopefully they will produce a good performance on Sunday.”
“I went to meet the Chairman with a very open mind last Tuesday and all the cards were on the table and we were very honest. There was a lot of honesty between two men across a boardroom table having a very open and frank review and discussion. We both agreed that if we get the plan right, going forward, that gives us a chance.
"I really want to be here walking out with passionate supporters behind us, having signed good players like we did in January.”