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Gillingham striker Tom Eaves targeting a 20-goal season

By Luke Cawdell

Striker Tom Eaves will be keen to register some happier memories against Rochdale, when they meet again this weekend.

Gills were thumped 3-0 at Spotland back in September, a result and performance that finally ended Ady Pennock’s reign as manager.

Eaves was sent off in that game, picking up a straight red for a challenge on Joseph Rafferty. An earlier booking in the same match culminated in a four-game ban for the centre-forward.

Tom Eaves is sent off against Rochdale Picture: Barry Goodwin

He said: “We started that game well but I just remember as a team we made a few mistakes and got punished.

“The game got a bit fiery and I got sent off, which was not a good memory.”

He hit back with a flurry of League 1 goals after that and is well on course to make his target of 20 for the season.

Eaves said: “I am on course and if I can get more, then I’ll get more, I wouldn’t want to put a cap on it. For now it’s 20. I feel like I am doing the right things consistently and am finally getting my weight in goals for it.

“Last year was the only real full season of playing football that I have had (at Yeovil) and that was off the back of a hip operation.

Tom Eaves Picture: Barry Goodwin

“It was good for me to get games and into the swing of things.

“I feel that played a massive part in this season but prior to that, it was loan spells here, stints there.

“I had a couple of good ones at Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury and other times where I didn’t play as much as I would like.

“My second loan at Shrewsbury I didn’t play as well as I wanted to and I put a bit of weight on. I didn’t do myself justice but you learn from those things.

“It was a difficult time for me before my hip injury but feel like I am reaping the rewards now.”

Eaves has become a fans’ favourite at Gills, notching up his 10th of the season in the club’s first ever win at Charlton, on New Year’s Day.

The team haven’t played since then, allowing the players a deserved break. Eaves returned to his home city of Liverpool.

Eaves, who has made Rochester his home down south, said: “My mum cooked Christmas dinner and I got to spend some time with the family. My sister has just given birth to a baby boy this week, so I am an uncle for the first time.

“I am a Liverpool fan but I have a fight on my hands because his dad is an Evertonian. We have a fair bit of rivalry in the family.

“My dad’s side is Liverpool and mum’s is Everton, so as you can imagine on derby day the family are divided, you wouldn’t think we are family!”

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