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Charlton Athletic loan forward Jayden Stockley was on Gillingham's radar last month after Preston North End made him available

Gillingham are searching for a striker and one of those that manager Steve Evans wanted to sign will be up against them on Saturday.

Weekend opponents Charlton Athletic beat off a number of clubs, including the Gills, to land 27-year-old Preston North End forward Jayden Stockley on loan.

Steve Evans is expecting to face an improved Charlton team following their January recruitment
Steve Evans is expecting to face an improved Charlton team following their January recruitment

Championship side Preston shelled out £750,000 for Stockley two years ago and he’s made 65 appearances for them in the second tier. When he became available last month during the transfer window, Evans was quick to show interest, even though he knew there would be competition.

Evans said: “When Preston announced they were letting him out on loan I don’t think there was a club in League 1 who didn’t want him. We certainly wanted him.

“I spoke to Alex Neil (the North End manager) and was in contact via messages with Peter Risdale (advisor to the club’s owner) and the reality is that we couldn’t get anywhere near the type of money that Preston expected to recover. You therefore realise his choices would be some big clubs in League 1 and he chose Charlton.

“I know from watching Charlton pre Stockley to now with Stockley, it seems to be a much more difficult opposition for us now. You need to look what he brings to the party.

“He went to Preston and really helped them after they paid a lot of money to Exeter City for him. He was a top player for Aberdeen as well. Charlton aren’t a one-man team but he makes them better.”

The Addicks also brought in Danish goalscorer Ronnie Schwartz during the January transfer window, Liverpool’s young Canadian international Liam Millar and added Swindon midfielder Diallang Jaiyesimi to their squad on deadline day. They were one of several clubs looking to sign Gillingham forward Jordan Graham.

The Gills kept hold of their key man along with a number of other players who clubs were chasing.

Evans said: “There were a number of clubs that spoke about four or five of our players. Charlton were one of a handful of clubs who wanted to speak to the chairman about doing something with Jordan, but that could have been said about Tucker, Ogilvie and Stuart O’Keefe.

“But the most concrete interest from the Championship was for Kyle Dempsey. We had three or four Championship clubs who were keen to talk to the chairman but he stuck to his word that we will keep everyone we possibly can and we will see what the summer brings.”

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