Published: 06:00, 27 September 2019
| Updated: 10:54, 27 September 2019
Oxford United don’t frighten us, insists Gillingham boss Steve Evans.
The Gills head to Oxford this Saturday, attempting to defeat a side which put six past high-flying Lincoln City last weekend and enjoyed a memorable victory over West Ham United, just four days later.
Steve Evans disappointed with League One position
Evans was there at the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday to see Oxford beat their Premier League opponents 4-0 in the Carabao Cup third round tie.
Speaking before Oxford's cup match, Evans said: “It was between them and Manchester City for performance of the weekend wasn’t it? 6-0 at Lincoln and once again (Oxford manager) Karl Robinson has put a fine side together.
“They were very good (on Saturday) and the reality of it was that it could have been more. Was it Lincoln having a complete off day or was it Oxford having a good day? They have got good players and will test us fully.
“You can you see how sometimes it is, when goals come at key stages, they get a couple of lucky goals in the second half and Lincoln dip a little. Self belief kicks in and that’s a big thing.
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“But it won’t affect what we do, it may affect what personnel and what shape we play, because that is part of the analysis you do for every game but it won’t make us fear them.”
Oxford made a slow start to the season but have three successive clean sheets in the league, picking up seven points from a possible nine.
Evans said: “They had a few players missing early season, key players. Karl has got one or two in since then as well. When you can attract the likes of the boy from Liverpool (Ben Woodburn) and the boy Matty Taylor, who came out of Bristol City, you have top players. We know how tough it will be for us.”
Taylor was rumoured to be a target for Evans and he was - but not at Gillingham.
“We looked at him back in the day for Peterborough,” he said.
“We couldn’t bring him here just on remuneration alone. Of course if it was a level playing field you would look at him and we did at Peterborough.
“There were probably only four or five clubs in League 1 (this season) who could afford it, it was beyond us. We cannot compete for those types of players.”
While Oxford had a big midweek game against the Hammers, the Gills weren't in action, not that Evans sees that as any kind of advantage.
He said: “We would love to (have been) playing West Ham wouldn’t we? We just didn’t deal with Newport (in the competition's opening round).
“I don’t think you get tiredness from a game like that, I think it builds momentum."
Evans expects to have Alfie Jones fit again this weekend after a training ground knock kept him out of the game against Ipswich.
Mark Marshall was away on compassionate leave, in Jamaica for the funeral of his father. He flew back on Monday night.
“Our thoughts go out to him and his family,” said Evans.
“He is back in and so he will be available.”
Matty Willock remains out. He’s been in a knee brace but Evans insists it’s only a precautionary measure and they are assessing the injury on a day by day basis. He got a bang in the game against Bolton.
Left-back Tom O’Connor is also expected to be fit. He went off with a deadleg last weekend.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell