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Gillingham v Bolton Wanderers match preview


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Gillingham’s weekend opponents might have lost their last three league games but boss Steve Evans knows they will be up against it.

Bolton were beaten 3-0 by Plymouth on Tuesday which followed a 4-0 weekend hammering by Wigan. Prior to that, Wanderers had lost 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday.

Gillingham boss won't be reading anything into Bolton's recent form Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham boss won't be reading anything into Bolton's recent form Picture: Andy Jones

Evans won’t be reading too much into those results.

He said: “It will be very tough and the Bolton manager said they are the best team in the league when they played at Hillsborough (Sheffield Wednesday) a few weeks ago.

“They have some top players and have spent some real good money and have absolutely fantastic owners. Ian (Evatt, the manager) has landed a real plum job there with some big investors backing the club.”

Following Bolton’s defeat to Wednesday, Evatt said: “I think we’re the best team in the league. People will say that’s arrogance, that’s over-confidence, but on performances I believe we’re the best team in the league.”

Two big losses since then shows they possibly aren’t as good as he thinks they are.

Evans has a soft spot for the club having moved there from Scotland as a young footballer after leaving school.

Bolton have bounced back from their money troubles, having won promotion from League 2 last season.

Evans said: “I never want what happened to Bolton Wanderers to happen again, it was rather sad and a shambles really and charlatans that shouldn’t be in football that caused it. That was my take on it.

“They have solid owners now, there will be a big crowd there, it is a fantastic place to go and play but so was the old Burnden Park when I was a kid, when I started my career. Great days.

“They are a wonderful side and I have watched a re-run of the Wigan game, they lost 4-0, it could have been five each. The opportunities Wigan got, they took them. The opportunities in that game the Bolton boys didn’t take but they are an outstanding side with lots of good players.

“I am just looking forward to going to Bolton Wanderers. Two years ago they might not have been here (because of financial issues) and if I get the opportunity to shake the hands of Sharon Brittan (the club’s chairwoman) or the board I will certainly do that because it is a club that will always be close to my heart.”

Prior to the trip north, Evans will be checking on Mustapha Carayol after he went off injured on Tuesday with a thigh strain. He has only just returned after a month out.

The Gills boss said: “He trained on Monday, fine Tuesday, but he had to come off (against Doncaster). We will see how he is. Chances are he won’t be right for the weekend.

“We look at key players, Alex MacDonald sitting there (out injured), Danny Phillips not being available and now Carayol. We are looking at our other choices and they are academy kids.

“The chairman quite rightfully says we have 24 players but three of them are kids. The chairman looks and thinks, ‘well I am paying them so they are part of the squad’, but they are kids and out of that 24 we have a couple away on loan.

“It has been really tight for us but we will regroup and go to Bolton and fight to try and get a point. If we can get one it would be good and if we can get three it would be wonderful.”

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