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Gillingham will be able to use five substitutes in a match for the rest of the 2020/21 season

Gillingham will be allowed to use five substitutes in a match from this weekend - something manager Steve Evans was against.

Evans felt the ruling - introduced to help teams manage the busier schedule - gives teams with bigger squads, like weekend opponents Charlton Athletic, an advantage.

Gillingham will be able to use two extra substitutes for the rest of the season
Gillingham will be able to use two extra substitutes for the rest of the season

Speaking before the announcement on Wednesday, Evans said: “I wouldn’t vote for five. Look at the bench at Sunderland (against the Gills), compare that to us, it is an unfair advantage.

“If the vote was taken by all the respective clubs and the vote was for five, then we would go with it, I wouldn’t complain about it, I would get on with it but I know teams who can bring the fourth and fifth sub on, they are bringing more quality onto the pitch than I can.”

Clubs in League 1 and 2 will be able to use five subs from seven named, rather than three, for the remainder of this season. That ruling comes after consulting with clubs.

The EFL say the board has now agreed to increase the number of substitutes to five in all fixtures, starting with the Championship game on Friday between Coventry City and Birmingham. Championship teams can name up no nine substitutes and use a maximum of five.

The five sub rule had been used in the summer when the Premier League and Championship clubs returned to complete the 2019/20 season.

The Premier League have twice declined to bring the ruling back this season but may still be persuaded, with England manager Gareth Southgate keen on the rule coming back.

Gillingham have at times struggled to fill a bench this season and haven’t the quality in depth that many of their League 1 rivals have. Teams are now able to change half of their outfield during a game with quality additions that could give them an extra edge late on in matches.

Charlton, who visit Priestfield this weekend, have a vast squad. Marcus Maddison, a top player at League 1 level, was an unused substitute for them in their last EFL outing. Sunderland had the likes of Max Power and Will Grigg unused against Gillingham.

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