Evans gives update on Gills squad
Evans gives update on Gills squad

Gillingham boss Steve Evans has been giving KSN a full run down of what his players have been doing in lock-down and how the club is waiting for the possibly restarting of the League One season.

Talking to KSN this week the Gills boss told us, “everyone in football has remarked on it, its been really, really tough. Everyone likes the idea of having a week at home not doing the commuting, not doing the travelling, not doing the bits at work but when you go by that week and theres no football, there’s no training, there’s no climax, there’s no buzz it gets difficult. We’re dealing with young men who play the game and they’re not used to being locked in.  They’re used to travelling to training and matches, they come in and report at a certain time, breakfast at a certain time, training at a certain time, lunch at a certain time, afternoon training at a certain time, departure at a certain time. They’re pretty much timetabled through their lives from when they wake up in the morning. Yes, they’ve got a timetable behind the work but it’s nowhere near normal.

“At the moment, I’d say I’m bit of a school teacher and father as far as the boys are concerned. On a regular basis I’ve been texting and messaging. I’ve spoken to them and I’m speaking to them all again on Friday. I ask them the key questions and make sure that they’re doing the work that they’ve been allocated individually.

“It’s important to make sure that they’re doing it to the best in terms of effort and commitment in a timely manner. So far we’re lucky in the sense that I’ve not identified anything other than the fact that the boys are very frustrated like every footballer or every person who’s been stuck in not going to work”.

The Gills boss hasn’t retreated into watching his favourite boxsets in isolation. 

He added “I’ve watched a re-run of every game that we’ve played this season already,” he said, “and I’ve watched games with certain players who are going to be on my list whether we’re League One or whether we’re in the Championship, we need two different types of lists. I’ve identified quite a lot of that – not all of it but a lot of it – I’m very fortunate that I’ve got all of the footage that I want to look at and I can put it on the big screen.

“I’ve probably done more studying hours than anyone as I’m studying during the day and I’m studying in the evening as well because theres not a lot else to be doing is there?

“I’m not a sit and watch television every night of the week, but I’ve done the work to make sure that I’m well aware of how we go forward – when we do it is the question – but how we go forward with the current squad how we go forward with players that we’d like to add during the summer period – if in fact it is the summer.

“With regards to our loan players, they should be staying with us until the end of the season whenever that may be. Providing the season does get finished and we’re all hoping that it does and we want to make that happen. There’ll be a timescale that they’ll have to call it I think, but the plan is that the players currently registered with you will stay with you during that period so I’m fairly relaxed about that. If the season did finish tomorrow, I know exactly who I would be recommending to the chairman but that has to remain confidential until such time as we’ve spoken to the players and that will only be after we’ve played our last minute of football.

“I was against playing behind closed doors, but I think now that we may have to do it. I think when the Prime Minister – god bless him and we send him all our hopes and prayers and thoughts – decides it’s time for us to come out of isolation, I think we may come out in little degrees and I think we’ll come out in two or three stages to bridge it. I think that one of those stages might be that we get back to football training and as soon as we’re back I think that the maximum any football club might say is that they want five to six weeks to effectively run pre-season again.

“If I were sitting in authority from the minute clubs go in you’d get ten days to be ready to be playing three times a week.  I think that’s what will happen and I think it will initially be with no spectators but there will be plenty of opportunity for people to watch the game live initially. I also think that maybe three to four games in the crowds may be allowed to come in albeit restricted attendances to start with.

“However I’m not in charge of those things and will leave it to the clever people as we’re just football managers! I want the season to finish as I want to measure our progress as I’m selfish that way. I want to measure our progress as if we fail to get into the play offs I want to know by what margin and I’ll know where that margin is and how we bridge that gap as I think the quality next year will be tougher. I think it will be as when you look at who will possibly come down from the Championship and regardless of who we lose I think League One will be tougher when it starts a new season. 

“I think we’d like to get it finished but we shouldn’t be running into September or October. If we’re not back playing football getting this done by at least the beginning of July then we’ve got questions to ask about all of it”.