Published: 06:00, 14 September 2020
| Updated: 08:00, 14 September 2020
The prospect of playing some top-class opposition hasn’t changed Steve Evans’ outlook on this season’s Carabao Cup.
Gillingham host Coventry City at Priestfield on Tuesday night in the second round and the winners will be travelling to either Premier League Wolves or Championship side Stoke City a week later.
It’s not enough to get Gillingham manager Evans excited though as he concentrates his efforts on the club’s League 1 campaign.
He said: “We will have a look at training and pick a team for Coventry but I have no interest. The reward is going to Stoke or Wolves. I have got no real interest but we will honour the competition as best we can.”
The Gills boss said on Saturday he was hoping to watch weekend opponents Wigan Athletic in action on Sunday when they played Ipswich. That’s his main focus.
But while the competition might not be of concern, the manager will want a performance from those who are picked. Following an opening-day League 1 defeat to Hull City there is every chance a standout showing will earn a place in the team at Wigan.
He said: “We will make changes. It doesn’t mean the ones left out will play at Wigan. There are shirts there to grab aren’t there? We need to be better in individual positions than we were.
“We are a small squad and we pick a team honestly. If they perform well midweek then they deserve to play (on Saturday).
“It is about partnerships, minutes on the pitch and getting people up to speed, giving everyone an opportunity to get a starting shirt at Wigan.
“We will be thinking about Wigan but we will try and beat Coventry. Mark Robins’ side were the best in this league by some distance last season and we will try and give them a bit of a game.”
Coventry City went up as champions after the table was decided on a points per game average following a season cut short by the Covid-19 crisis.
The Sky Blue also started their season with a league defeat, losing 2-1 at Bristol City. With their next Championship fixture on Friday night it’s highly likely they will look to make plenty of changes for the match at Priestfield, which kicks off at 6pm.
It’s another game behind closed doors and Evans wished the fans had been there on Saturday to give them a boost against Hull.
“We did miss them,” he said. “No doubt they would have helped, especially second half when we were attacking the Rainham End, but they don’t help you pick a man up, or make a pass better, from that point of view.”
Gillingham will have Ryan Jackson back available after his weekend suspension. Kyle Dempsey is set to miss out with an ankle injury and is to undergo a scan on Monday. New signing Scott Robertson could be in line for his first start.
*Young forward Toby Bancroft - who signed on for another year this summer - turned out for Isthmian League side Margate at the weekend in their friendly with Tonbridge Angels. The young forward had been earmarked for a spell out on loan. Details of the move have yet to be announced.
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