Published: 07:28, 10 June 2019
| Updated: 08:32, 10 June 2019
Steve Evans is ready to live and breathe Gillingham.
Gills’ new manager officially started his role on June 1 and plans on basing himself close to the action.
He said: “I have done it at Leeds and I did it at Rotherham. I will say goodbye to the family on a Monday morning and see them on a Saturday night type of thing.
“My wife and daughters will be up and down and certainly they will come for home games because they try and support it when they can.
“I will be based down here. You have to live and breathe it. The days of coming into the training ground or stadium at 9.30am and leaving at 12.30pm, those days see people fail.
"It has to be long hours and dedication or it fails.
“The one thing that has been attributed to the chairman at Peterborough and every chairman I have worked for is that they respect how hard I try. If you try your best you might be successful.”
It will certainly be a challenge to turn the Gills into a team that are fighting at the right end of League 1. The bookies have already priced them as relegation fodder.
“It is going to be tough,” acknowledged Evans.
“If you run a football club or if you are a supporter, you don’t want to be fighting relegation with two weeks to go do you? It is always much better to be fighting at the top end.
"There have been too many seasons where Gillingham have been fighting for survival rather than fighting in that top group.”
Helping him on the mission will be his long-term right-hand man Paul Raynor – a man he admires greatly, but doesn’t always agree with.
“He is a fantastic coach,” said Evans, who has worked with him since their non-league days at Boston United.
“He works morning, noon and night and like myself watches a lot of football matches and he improves footballers, improves teams and improves systems. He just needs to be a little quieter!”
Evans described the man who will be beside him in the dugout, saying: “Honesty, integrity, no yeses in it, he is often falling out with me but that is why we have been together so long. I know that if I ask an opinion I get his honest opinion.
“There are too many managers in the EFL who put assistants in that will never threaten them or challenge them. Players love him, they love working with him, he is the good guy.
"I can be the hard one if I need to be, as people would expect.”
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More by this authorLuke Cawdell