Evans backs players to succeed
Evans backs players to succeed

Gillingham go into the traditionally crucial Easter programme on the verge of the SKYBet League One Play Offs, and boss Steve Evans knows exactly what he wants from his side as the approach games with Wigan Athletic and Blackpool over the holiday period.

It’s an earlier than normal start (5:30pm) for The Gills as the home game against Wigan has been brought forward to Wednesday night, and victory will take Evans’ side into the Play Off places.

And the manager has little doubt as to why the finale to this strangest of seasons could see The Gills in post season action for the first time in over a decade; “We’ve got some real positivity and positive players in the group and that’s why we’re still fighting for what will be a great prize because the boys are giving so much pride and effort,” Evans told us. 

The Rainham End may have been silent all season, but the fans are playing their part too. The manager admitted, “The players are really feeling the ground swell of support from the fans through social media – I don’t do it myself, but I listen to what the players have been saying.”

“They feel it and they’re the most important people who have to feel it – there’s never been a manager yet who’s scored the winning goal yet unless his name was Glenn Hoddle at Swindon, but there’s never been a manager yet who goes out there and wins games for his team to victory.”

“The real people who can produce the victories are the players, and I genuinely believe that the next best way to help you win games are your supporters and none of us have that at the minute.”

“Players win football matches, and our players have a real belief at the moment – we always understand the opposition; we do our homework; we brief our players and you’ve seen the results.”

“We’re on a good run, the performances by large have been good, we’ve been winning and there is a real positivity around the camp – the boys are looking really fresh and really strong with no sign of fatigue or tiredness and that normally comes from team spirit in the dressing room and winning games, and we’ve been doing that largely.”

“Our captain (Kyle Dempsey) is probably the signal for doing that – from minute one he’s like a “little Duracell man” where he never stops and he’s exactly the same in training where he’s infectious in the group. With him and Stuart O’Keefe in there, you could say that they’re my own “Duracell bunnies!”

“We made a decision back in the summer and we knew that there would be times when we knew that we would be light of players but now fourteen or fifteen players are now dragging us towards that top group, and if we don’t get there, I can assure all of our supporters, who are the most important people, that it won’t be for the want of the lads trying to get us there…”

“I admit that I didn’t think we would be this close and that’s just down to our inconsistency but remembering my promotion with Rotherham out of League Two and we were beaten 2-1 at struggling Morecambe to a thirty yard header after losing at Priestfield, I said to my Chairman that we could still do it as I believed in the group, and I believe in this group as there are a lot of characteristics from that time.”

“We’re at the business end of the season – it’s squeaky bum time when every single point and every three points count!”