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Manager Steve Evans says Gillingham must extend unbeaten run to 23 games to make League 1 play-offs

Gillingham boss Steve Evans believes they need to extend their unbeaten run for more than half of the season if they are to make the League 1 play-offs.

Gills are 15 games unbeaten after a goalless draw at Lincoln on Saturday kept them four points outside the top six.

Gills boss Steve Evans cuts a frustrated figure on the sidelines on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills boss Steve Evans cuts a frustrated figure on the sidelines on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry

It’s a run that’s had Gillingham fans dreaming of the play-offs – but Evans says it needs to go on much longer if they are to make that a reality.

“We’ve been on a good run, we’re 15 unbeaten,” said Evans. “I said to the boys that has to be 23, 24 games unbeaten if we’re to get into that elite group.

“I think they are (capable of doing that). If you’ve gone 15, you can do 23. It’s really tough to be able to do it.

“When you look at the games we’ve got, in that run for example we need to go to Rotherham and Sunderland, it’s really tough.”

Evans believes Gillingham’s advantage is that no one expects them to make it.

The burden of expectation is going to play heavily on the mind of opposing fans, players and managers in the next couple of months.

“Those teams have got the resources,” he added. “Rotherham’s chairman told me last summer that promotion is a must for them.

“It’s a must if you look at Phil Parkinson at Sunderland, promotion’s a must. Paul Lambert at Ipswich – promotion’s a must. They become under pressure but as I’ve always said if you get the resources you need to deliver.

“I don’t think I’ve failed when I’ve got the resources. That’s not blowing my own trumpet, that’s about recruitment, that’s about the staff behind you, that’s about (assistant boss) Paul Raynor, about your analyst.

“We knew we had less resources so what did we do? We found an Alfie Jones, we found a Tom O’Connor, we found Jack Tucker who we were told was being released from the football club and we gave him a new chance – and he’ll go for millions.

“We found all these boys just by looking at their backgrounds, yes they can play. Have they got good stats? Yes.

“Let’s check their characters out – we’ve got all good apples in our basket and that gives us a chance.

“Every manager would say that but they don’t believe it when they go home – I believe it.”

Jordan Roberts battles Lincoln's Neal Eardley Picture: Ady Kerry
Jordan Roberts battles Lincoln's Neal Eardley Picture: Ady Kerry

The long unbeaten run is showing no signs of getting to Gillingham’s squad, either.

Often, teams will be content to play for draws just to avoid defeat – but Evans’ team know three points are now essential more often than not.

“We can make the play-offs, we need some results to go for us,” said Evans. “But more importantly we need to win some football matches.

“We’ve won three and now drawn at Lincoln, this was always a tough place to come.

“At the start of the week if someone had said you’d take four points from six, we’d have taken it.

“We wanted six and we spoke to the players before Southend about the difference that six would make.

“We’ll only know if that hurts us as we go forward over the next three or four weeks. From our point of view, we’re in a good place.

“We’ve got one game a week (now), which we’ve been crying out for.”

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