Published: 05:00, 25 November 2021
Manager Steve Evans says he daren’t think too deeply about the problems he’s facing at Gillingham.
Injuries have so far scuppered the club’s hopes of competing in the top half of League 1 and it’s a damage limitation exercise at present while they wait for players to recover.
Captain Kyle Dempsey was due an operation on Thursday and leading scorer Vadaine Oliver is set for another month on the sidelines. They had eight senior players out on Tuesday and that meant there were several in action who Evans says shouldn’t be involved, either because they are unfit or too young.
Speaking after Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat against Cheltenham, Evans said: “The reality is at the moment we are in the middle of a pandemic of injuries.
“I have never experienced anything like it and we have to work our way through it. The opposite is to go home and think too deeply. If you did that you wouldn’t come back would you?
“You don’t think deeply, you remain positive and I will motivate the boys and we will go again. The boys are giving us everything, the positive is that we are getting lots of energy and effort, we can’t ask any more, we can’t give them what they haven’t got, whether that is fitness or ability.”
Having his players giving their all is key.
Evans said: “It is crucial for this football club and crucial for the most important people at any football club, the supporters.
“It is never about the manager, never about the star striker, it is never about the chairman, it is the supporters, they are the lifeblood, if they don’t come and support Gillingham then there is no Gillingham Football Club.
“Our supporters are hurting but I think they know we are doing everything we possibly can to try and help the situation.”
Evans continues to be linked to the vacant manager’s post at League 2 Stevenage and has not ruled it out.
He was asked about the speculation again on Tuesday night.
“I don’t know about that,” he replied. “Paul Scally (the chairman) has not spoken to me so I don’t know.”
Gillingham head into the weekend one point off the relegation places in League 1. The eventual return of their top players will no doubt improve results but hopes of a third successive play-off push are looking slimmer by the week.
Evans said: “We came here with a plan over three years to build. (We had) two 10th place finishes and we were all disappointed when we never made that top seven last year, all bar a mad seven or eight minutes at Oxford we would have made that top group, but the momentum went out of us.
“We have not been able to build on that momentum, we have not had a chance since the summer.
"I am looking at players playing at the top of League 1 and I had them in the building to sign but we didn’t sign them. You see the levels they are playing at and you have a bit of envy but that is where we are and we get on with it.”