Published: 06:00, 13 December 2019
Boss Steve Evans admits he didn’t see Connor Ogilvie playing left-back again for Gillingham.
He said as much to fans during a forum before the season began, having watched the former Spurs defender play there for the Gills before he got the manager’s job.
But he doesn’t think that now.
Ogilvie has grabbed his chance to return to the left flank and is looking a much better fit in that position, having switched to a central position firstly under Steve Lovell and then under Evans at the start of the season.
Evans said: “At my first fans’ forum I said I didn’t see him as a left-back and I didn’t want him there. The three times I had seen him play left-back for Gills he was poor, there was no other way to describe it.
“But we’ve worked with him on the training ground. We put him in central defence (at the start of the season) but we did look at him in certain aspects of the game and saw that there was a left-back in there, Spurs could be right.
“We worked on positional play, we worked on when to go and when not to go, and we worked on when to cover and not to cover, when to be calm in possession and when to be rushed. We worked for about four or five weeks, a lot of one-on-one and it has paid off, he has been outstanding.”
He capped an impressive defensive performance with the winning goal and the man-of-the-match award last weekend against Sunderland.
Evans said: “When it broke to him for the goal, I thought he would score, because he has got real good ability.
“I think Connor is a confidence boy as well; the better he plays the better he will get. The more support he gets from the management team the better he will become. We love him, he is another one who is playing exceptionally well every time we pick him.”
Striker Mikael Mandron is another player earning rave reviews at present.
A big character in the changing room, the Frenchman is also becoming a focal point up top for the Gills.
Evans said: “He is a huge difference from the early part of the season, black and white, Celtic and Rangers, the gulf is massive.
“He is an epitome of what can happen if you really knuckle down and work hard. You can get in the team and if you work hard when you are in the team then you can stay there.
“People might not have noticed but he helped set up the winning goal last Saturday because he won the header from the corner. Well done him.
“He is a great lad to have around, he is one of the boys who helps keep the spirits up all the time, he is always laughing and joking.
“The lads love him. I told him they would love him more if he played a part and that is what he is doing.”