Published: 06:00, 20 September 2021
Gillingham are heading into the midweek clash with Charlton Athletic once again with a depleted squad.
The Gills couldn’t fill the bench at the weekend and those absent are unlikely to return for Tuesday, according to boss Steve Evans. Midfielder Stuart O’Keefe is also now absent through suspension.
Star performer from Burton the week before, Mustapha Carayol, picked up an injury in the final few minutes of training on Friday and Evans was unwilling to risk the winger against MK Dons on Saturday.
Striker John Akinde is back on the treatment table - having made just two appearances so far - midfielder Dan Phillips could be missing for several weeks while right-back Ryan Jackson remains out.
Evans has opted for quality over quantity since taking charge at the Gills, in an effort to get the best from a modest budget, but it’s left him little in reserve.
He was asked on Sunday if any of those injured players could play a part against Charlton. “No” was his clear answer, adding: “We are again depleted but let us focus on the players we have available.”
Carayol’s absence was a blow on Saturday.
“He has been flying,” said the Gills boss. “He had been feeling really good but in those last few minutes during finishing in training he felt his thigh.
"You can either ask him to go through the pain barrier and risk losing him for weeks or you come out and see where we go on Monday and Tuesday.
“He is a big loss and I think he would have given them (MK Dons) a real problem.”
Young striker Gerald Sithole returned to the fold on Saturday and made a lively showing off the bench, giving MK some problems for a while before they wrapped the game up with two late goals.
Senior striker Akinde is back struggling with the same problems as previously.
Evans said: “His scans show clear again, he has had more scans than probably Medway hospital give out in a season, but it is clear, it is a mystery to us, we feel for us, we feel for John on that front, but it doesn’t help us.”
He added: “Those lads not available for selection cannot help us one bit so forget them.
“We are without players that would arguably start and we are back to not being able to fill a bench and that’s nobodies fault when you have those four players injured, we have to endure it and get on with it and look forward to a humdinger atmosphere on Tuesday.”
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