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Published: 06:00, 05 July 2019
Gillingham boss Steve Evans was thrilled to have seen off the competition to land winger Nathan Thomas this week.
The 24-year-old joined the Gills on loan for the season from Premier League new boys Sheffield United on Monday.
Thomas found his route to the first team blocked at Bramall Lane by the likes of Enda Stevens and Mark Duffy but he excelled during a loan spell at League 2 Carlisle United in the second half of last season.
Carlisle were keen to get Thomas back but Gillingham were one of six teams in League 1 also chasing the promising winger, who can play on both flanks.
Evans said: “I was really pleased when Chris Wilder (the Sheffield United manager) rang me and said Nathan is coming in and that he had chosen us because the deals were all the same.
“It wasn’t a case that we were competing one deal against another, it was down to what he wanted.
“He had six to choose from and a couple of big clubs at this level that you would say would certainly be up there.”
The move to Sheffield United came after an impressive 18 months at Hartlepool.
“He had done all sorts of magic at Hartlepool,” added Evans. “He has good pedigree, he was at Sunderland as a kid.
“He just couldn’t get in at Sheffield United and he was the one knocking on Chris’s door. I spoke to Chris Wilder about taking him on loan when I first got the job, they were sure they were going to loan him but weren’t sure where.
“I spoke to a couple of managers in League 2, friends of mine, one of them got promoted and I said we had a chance of getting the boy Thomas from Carlisle, and he was like, ‘Steve if you can get him, just take him’.
“Again, he will excite our supporters, and probably frustrate them because all wide players do and that’s why I have a bald patch, because of wingers!”
Evans stated that a move for former Gills favourite Matt Jarvis is unlikely while he confirmed he had talked with former Huddersfield midfielder Jack Payne.
Payne joined League 1 rivals Lincoln City this week.