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Gillingham manager Steve Evans anticipates striker Tom Eaves will join goalkeeper Tomas Holy in leaving Priestfield

By Luke Cawdell

New Gillingham boss Steve Evans expects leading scorer Tom Eaves to follow Tomas Holy through the exit door.

Holy has signed a two-year deal with Ipswich after turning down a new contract at Priestfield. Both he and Eaves, who scored 22 goals this season, were offered new deals.

Ironically, Evans was acting as a scout during his time watching the Gills at the back end of the season and likes what he saw of Holy.

Tom Eaves scored 22 goals for Gills this season Picture: Ady Kerry
Tom Eaves scored 22 goals for Gills this season Picture: Ady Kerry

“My reports on Tomas said he was certainly capable of stepping up, for sure, not just because of his size and his ability, but his technique is good for that level,” said Evans.

“It was (goalkeeper coach) Ian Pledger, who has worked for me, who convinced the people to bring him here (to Gillingham) and it was a great judgement call.”

Evans knows Eaves well too, having had him at Rotherham six years ago. But he knows the 27-year-old is likely to be looking elsewhere.

He said: “Tom Eaves has done a wonderful job with some of his goals. They have been stunning.

“Every time we have come up against each other there has been a mutual respect. He came off the bench here (at Priestfield) against Peterborough and he changed the game in Gillingham’s favour.

“I said to him he could have left it for the following week!

“Sometimes players want to challenge themselves at higher levels or bigger clubs and football should always be about progression.”

They are two big players Evans must now replace and on Thursday he handed over his list of targets to Gillingham chairman Paul Scally.

Evans said: “The difficulty is that we have lost some good players but therein lies the opportunity to bring some players in.

“I don’t think Tom Eaves would have had a multiple amount of options when he signed for Gillingham but he has got his game together and he is a wonderful kid, he deserves it.

“I have given the chairman and Tom (Lawrence), the CEO, a list and I gave them that when I came in on Thursday morning. They will get on and make contact before I take up my role on June 1.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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