Gillingham v Cheltenham Town preview
Gillingham v Cheltenham Town preview

It’s a case of take your boots as you might get a game tonight as Gillingham entertain Cheltenham Town in League One at Priestfield.

Steve Evans’ squad is now down to the barest of bones for the must win game with Stuart O’Keefe the latest player to be missing from the threadbare squad.

The stand in skipper and midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Crewe on Saturday and will therefore miss the game.

Meanwhile, Robbie McKenzie seems a doubt after limping off at Gresty Road in his comeback game and if he’s missing, Gillingham will be in dire straits.

Having already turned to the youth team to fill just a handful of places on the bench, manager Steve Evans will once again be without Danny Lloyd (hamstring) and Ben Reeves (twisted ankle). Both are expected to be out until after Christmas.

Kyle Dempsey is having surgery on his torn cartilage this week with striker Vadaine Oliver out for four to six weeks after twisting his ankle.

Olly Lee is out with a broken toe, Alex MacDonald with a knee injury and David Tutonda has a hamstring strain whilst Rhys Bennett is still nursing a knock from the FA Cup clash against Cheltenham Town.

Reflecting on the worst injury crisis he’s experienced as a manager, Steve Evans admits it’s going to be hard for a patched up and young side against a strong Cheltenham team:

“Nobody can help the pandemic of injuries, not Paul Scally, not the man on the moon, only probably the man above, so we are going to kneel at church because he is the only one that can help us at the moment because we are in a pandemic of it.”

“I have not had a challenge like it, I have never seen a pandemic of injuries. I have seen key players go out, we have all seen that. We have not seen this amount of players.”

“It is going to be very tough for us, you just have to look at their bench from Tuesday. Look at ours, come on, do us a favour. They are bringing on Alfie May and decent top half League One players.”

“We will just regroup, understand what we have on Tuesday night and pick a team and be organised and try and beat them.”

“The chairman will expect as a minimum that Steve Evans and Paul Raynor get the boys organised as best we can and we fight, that is what we are famous for.”

“We had a chuckle at breakfast on Saturday morning. It felt like we were taking the school kids for a day out, when you look at how young and fresh they are, but it is what we have got and we are grateful to have them.”

So it’s the kids to the rescue again then for Evans and co tonight.

As for the manager’s own future, it appears to be a stalemate at Priestfield.

Evans seems unlikely to resign despite overseeing the side close to the League One relegation zone, Paul Scally seems unlikely to sack him and then need to pay off the remainder of his contract, whilst Stevenage are keen to take Evans, but can’t agree a compensation deal.

Meanwhile, a protest against Gillingham chairman Paul Scally is expected to take place outside the ground before the game.

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.