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Gillingham begin talks with striker Tom Eaves over new contract

By Matthew Panting

Gillingham have opened contract talks with leading scorer Tom Eaves.

The 26-year-old took his tally for the season to 11 with another double against Fleetwood on Saturday.

Boss Steve Lovell spoke last week about his desire to keep Eaves at Priestfield, and is keen to see a new deal agreed as soon as possible.

Tom Eaves is in a rich vein of form and reached double figures after two goals against Fleetwood on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry
Tom Eaves is in a rich vein of form and reached double figures after two goals against Fleetwood on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry

“There’s no way that any club will want to get rid of their top scorer,” said Lovell.

“We want him to stay here for as long as he wants to. That’s something that we’ve got to sort out.

“We’ve had initial talks with him and he wants to stay here. We’re discussing it now, of course we are, it goes without saying.

“It’s something we want to happen and Tom wants to happen. We’ll try and get it done as soon as possible. It can only do us good and him good if he keeps scoring goals. It’s a matter of trying to extend (his contract).

“He’s 26, he could go on scoring goals until he is 32, 33. As long as I’m here, I’d love him to stay with me because I’ve got a lot of time for Tom.”

After four goals in his first five games, Eaves has now netted seven times in his last eight appearances to become League 1’s leading marksman.

Lovell believes his man-management is getting the best out of Eaves, who is on course to beat last season’s tally of 18 goals for Gills.

“I’ve been his worst critic because I had to be for his own good,” added Lovell.

“I know when I got left out, it recharged me and when you come back you’re a different person. He came on at Shrewsbury and scored, and since then he hasn’t stopped scoring.

“He’s an intelligent young man, who loves the football club and I want him to reap the benefits of the ability he has. He knows that and we understand each other.

“I think that’s a big thing and when you’ve been through it yourself, you do understand it. You’ve got to hope that it comes through and it has done.

“He is tremendous, he works hard and is a great character but on top of that, now he is scoring goals.”

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