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Gillingham manager Steve Evans looks ahead to midweek League 1 match at Rotherham United


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Gillingham return from a free weekend for a fixture that manager Steve Evans has described as their toughest game yet.

Evans takes his team to top of the table Rotherham United tomorrow (Tuesday) night, tackling a side who are 13 unbeaten in League 1 and one the Gills boss believes will be crowned the division's champions this season.

Gillingham's stand-in skipper Stuart O'Keefe in action against Rotherham United in 2019
Gillingham's stand-in skipper Stuart O'Keefe in action against Rotherham United in 2019

“It is the toughest game of the season for me and I would always say that,” said Evans of his former club.

“They have got multiple options in their squad, they are big, they are strong, they will be organised and efficient.

“They went to Ipswich who have top, top players and I watched the full re-run of that game, they won 2-0 and it could have been much more. Our task will be difficult but they are not just winning games, they are sweeping teams aside. That makes it difficult but we are looking forward to it.”

Evans will hope the weekend break from competitive action will have given him extra options as a handful of injured players attempt to return.

He said: “I would rather be going there with my full group but I am not. We will represent Gillingham, Medway and Kent with as hard a working performance as we possibly can.

“We might have one or two back and it is testament to the squad that they have kept a real positive approach because even last Saturday our club doctor said before the boy Adshead went home, ‘it looks like a break’, and you could see the boys looking at each other thinking, ‘not another one?!’

“If we had more of the squad available last Saturday we certainly wouldn’t have lost the game against Portsmouth and we are conscious we need to get some points.”

The Gills have it tough on their return to action. Following their midweek trip to Rotherham they face an away game at Fleetwood.

Evans said: “Rotherham is a tough gig for us, a team who for me will be champions. Then we go to Fleetwood and they will have a new manager in place, I assume. [Simon Grayson was axed after an eight-game run without a win] It is a difficult place to go so hopefully we will recover some of these lads and they will find some new energy.”

Stephen Crainey is currently in charge at Fleetwood as interim head coach. In contrast to Rotherham, Gills’ weekend opponents are 22nd in League 1, without a win in their last eight league matches.

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