Published: 06:00, 17 October 2019
Gillingham are coming up against League 1’s most lethal forward line this weekend.
Peterborough striker Ivan Toney scored his 10th goal of the season last weekend – making him the Football League’s leading scorer – while Mo Eisa has nine and Marcus Maddison has scored a few, too.
Nobody has scored more than Peterborough in the division and Gills boss Steve Evans – who signed Toney while Posh manager last season – knows his current team will need to be at their very best to get a result.
He said: “Our task is set before me and the rest of the players to make sure we are ready to play against them, compete against them and beat them.
“The two best players outside of the Championship, Ivan Toney and Marcus Maddison, will be playing here on Saturday.
“We need to be at our best and they need to be a notch down, but we could be in the top half of the table if we can beat Peterborough and that would be a fantastic achievement for what is a new group and a young group.
“The team took a lot of plaudits for their defending at Portsmouth (last weekend). I think we need to be even better than that this Saturday because Portsmouth missed a couple of good chances first half. If we allow Peterborough to do that we will get punished.”
Maddison has scored six goals so far and Evans said: “He used to do things that mesmerised me, not every day, but he won us a lot of games because he would either score a goal or produce a wonderful assist. He has continued that this season.”
Posh shelled out around half a million for Toney and the club have spent big throughout their squad, with Eisa arriving from Bristol City for a club record, a figure reputedly in excess of £1m. He was a player Evans attempted to sign the year before. Last weekend they beat Lincoln 2-0 with Siriki Dembele coming off the bench and turning the tide.
Dembele was another one of Evans’ signings.
“They are just full of class players,” said the Gills boss, who reemains confident his players can pull off a surprise, particularly after watching his men frustrate Portsmouth.
“We are capable,” he said. “The boys are working so hard and we have a chance of winning this match.
“We need to be better than we were at Portsmouth, at both ends of the pitch. We got into good areas, we had them on the rack for a time, but we needed a bit more class or quality.”
Peterborough and Gillingham may be at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to budgets in League 1, but Evans knows it will be down to more than that on Saturday.
He said: “No football match has ever been won on budgets, on who pays what, football matches are decided on the performance on the day.
“We have to be ready because this will be a tough game for us.
“It will be about heart and desire on the pitch and the atmosphere off it.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell