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Gillingham manager Steve Evans wants to meet potential new signings

Gillingham boss Steve Evans is hoping to start meeting potential new signings in the coming days.

He’s already been making numerous calls to possible recruits but likes to get to know them first. Office meetings might have to be replaced by socially distanced walks, however.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans keen to meet some potential new signings Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham manager Steve Evans keen to meet some potential new signings Picture: Ady Kerry

“I am already talking to perspective players,” he said.

“It’s not to the extent where we are talking about deals but they are aware that I would like to meet up with them in the next week or two, to talk football.”

Evans and the Gills might not be able to offer deals right away as finances may depend on when a new season starts. Most are assuming a date in September to kick off the 2020/21 campaign but things could be clearer following a meeting of clubs and the EFL planned this week.

The Gills boss knows he needs to be proactive.

He said: “My immediate plan is not to be sitting on the fence. I need to be telling the players we like that we would love to bring the to Priestfield.

“I have had a warm response. People that knew about League 1 last year knew that we were a decent team. I have explained how we could be better and how I want us to be better. There was not one person I phoned who doesn’t want to meet us.

“The plan is for me at the back end of the week, subject to social distancing, to probably meet up with them, even if it is just to go for a walk and a chat.

“We can meet at Priestfield, there are measures in place, but we can meet somewhere else, have a walk and have a chat about how we see them fitting in.

“Players are like that, they want to know when you have watched them and how you know them and how your squad is looking, this and that, it’s no different to the last four or five years but every year that goes by they get more intense. If they have options they want to make sure they are picking the right one.”

Gillingham have been in talks with four of last year’s squad with expiring contracts but late last week captain Max Ehmer was heavily linked with a move to League 1 rivals Bristol Rovers.

Evans - speaking before news of Ehmer’s possible switch to Bristol broke - knows that finances are tight and accepts that the club’s survival comes first.

He said: “Whenever I go to the chairman, in terms of player requests, his overriding responsibility is not to be Mr Popular but he needs to make sure that Gillingham Football Club is in a strong position when we start the new season because there will be clubs in two or three months who won’t be in that position.

“The chairman doesn’t have to make popular decisions because often popular decisions are not the right ones for the business or the club.

“Business decisions need to be made that are right for the football club. It might not always be popular, it might be sensitive at times, with players and different things, but we need to make the decisions that are right so that we have a real strong football club when we come to the start of the new season.”

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