Evans discusses situations at Coventry, Bury and Bolton
Evans discusses situations at Coventry, Bury and Bolton

Gilingham manager Steve Evans has had his say on the situations at some of the clubs in the Football League that are struggling off the field.

Gillingham face Coventry City this weekend at Birmingham’s the St. Andrew’s stadium – a ground 20 miles from Coventry’s usual home in the Ricoh Arena.

Coventry are being forced to play their home games away from the Ricoh for the second time in five years. They had to play at Northampton’s Sixfields Stadium in 2014.

The move comes after a row between the Coventry City owners and the owners of Coventry’s original home ground.

The owners of the Ricoh refused to let Coventry play there this season due to a previous breakdown in relationship with the club’s owners.

Steve Evans has credited the fans who have stuck by their side during the up and downs of Coventry in the last few years.

“I must admit, I sat amongst it (the Coventry fans) last Saturday and I think over 7,000 turned up” said Evans. “Incredible backing considering it’s 20 miles up the road.”

“They really got behind the team, they’ve always done that, but they don’t deserve to be travelling up to Birmingham to watch their team play.

“It’s just another example of what’s going on in football. I’ve read the words of Danny (Cowley) at Crawley and Joey (Barton) at Fleetwood about the EFL and the processes and the integrity of it all, and they’re right. They’re absolutely right.

“But we have to not focus on that. They’re their issues, not our issues. We go to a beautiful stadium, which Birmingham City is. My teams have always done well at St Andrew’s and I’m looking forward to going there.”

Evans’ side are due to face Bolton Wanderers at the end of August, but that’s now a fixture that seems in jeopardy after Bolton’s game against Doncaster on Tuesday was suspended in an effort to look after the welfare of their young team, following a 5-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers the Saturday before.

Most of Bolton’s senior players have left the club after not being paid for a number of months, leaving the side with just a number of young, inexperienced players to choose from.

Bolton have entered administration and are also facing a number of behind the scenes troubles, similar to Bury, who risk being expelled from the Football League on Friday. Gillingham have already seen their trip to Bury suspended.

Although it’s not ideal for his own side’s preparations, Steve Evans agreed that Bolton should stop playing their games in their current situation.

“Yes, I do. I disagree with Sam Allerdyce – he thought they should play” added Evans.

“I think the welfare of young men and young ladies today is more prominent than ever, and so it should be. We hear so often about sad and tragic cases about when you expose young people to pressures that shouldn’t be put in front of them.

“I think it was a sensible decision – I hope the Football League remember that.

“A good manager has walked away from his job at Bolton in Phil Parkinson so, again, they have their own issues, but it was a club I had two years at as an apprentice at it was my first ever professional club as a footballer, so you fall in love with it, but it’s a sad story there and it’s a sad story at Bury.”