Published: 05:00, 12 October 2021
Gillingham will send their youth players to Whitstable to contest the long-awaited 2019/20 Kent Senior Cup semi-final.
First team boss Steve Evans has made it clear that no senior players will be involved in the cup match at The Belmont against the Isthmian League side.
“It will be the kids,” said Evans, when asked about the match.
Youth team boss Craig Stone will take charge but he could have some young pros involved with defender Harvey Lintott and striker Gerald Sithole pencilled in to play.
Left-back Bailey Akehurst, who has been involved with the first team this season, could also feature.
“We need to give them some 90 minutes,” Evans said. “We think the world of those kids but you can see on Saturday (at Wycombe) the levels we are up against.”
The 2019/20 Kent Senior Cup was put on hold because of the Covid outbreak. Gillingham’s last game of that season was a 5-1 win over Dover Athletic in the competition. Jordan Graham and John Akinde were among the goalscorers that night at Crabble.
County cup competitions were scrapped for 2020/21. Maidstone United are the current holders after winning the tournament in 2019 against Bromley.
Dartford await the winners of Gillingham and Whitstable with the final set to be played at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium.
The Oystermen have postponed their trip to Hastings United in the league to accommodate the county cup fixture.
Whitstable reached the KSC semis with wins over Cray Valley, Welling United and Ramsgate.
Keith McMahon was recently appointed manager of Whitstable, following the resignation of Lloyd Blackman. This will be his first match in charge. He takes over of a team sitting second bottom of the Isthmian League South East Division.
The Whitstable squad includes several players who have been at Gillingham previously, including Harry Stannard, Danny Walder, Jake MacKenzie and James Brown.
Kick off is at 7.45pm with tickets costing £10 for adults, £5 concessions and free entry for under-16s.