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Gillingham 0 Ipswich Town 2: Reaction from boss Steve Evans after Papa John's Trophy defeat


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There weren’t enough big performances for Gillingham boss Steve Evans last night against Ipswich Town - although one youngster continues to impress.

Teenage left-back Bailey Akehurst was handed a start against a second-string Ipswich side which would still give most teams in League 1 a run for their money.

Young Gillingham defender Bailey Akehurst in the thick of the action against Ipswich Town Picture: Andy Jones
Young Gillingham defender Bailey Akehurst in the thick of the action against Ipswich Town Picture: Andy Jones

Akehurst was up against forward Kayden Jackson for much of the night, a player Evans once tried to sign for a fee of over £1m while at Peterborough. The Gills conceded twice on the night but Akehurst once again showed his growing potential.

Evans said: “I was pleased with some aspects of the individual performances, I think one or two let themselves down.

“With such a small squad I could not take a chance with Dempsey, MacDonald or Oliver. I couldn’t pick them because I am no different to the supporters. If you are level or a goal down you want to put them on, you want to win. You have to stop that temptation.

“Young Bailey Akehurst at left-back, not now, but in years ahead will be a player for Gillingham, without a shadow of doubt. I was pleased to see Jack Tucker come in and have such a commanding performance, certainly for 75 minutes and pleased with Stuart O’Keefe, lots of energy.

“There were plusses but there were also three or four who we were looking at and thinking ‘go on, step up and give me a problem for picking a team Saturday,’ but they didn’t really jump up and say ‘I should be playing at Wycombe.’

Jack Tucker impressed on his return to the Gillingham team Picture: Andy Jones
Jack Tucker impressed on his return to the Gillingham team Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham made seven changes while Ipswich had a fresh eleven on the pitch. Evans’ men held their own and were unlucky with some of the refereeing decisions that went against them.

Reflecting on the opposition, Evans said: “Paul Cook in his own words, said that team who played would finish in the top 10 in League 1. You look at the boy Jackson who started, he cost £1.4m and I know that because we agreed to same fee at Peterborough United. On personal terms he chose Ipswich. He is a great kid and I spoke to him before the game but he can’t get a sniff.

“If you are spending a £10m budget like Ipswich do, and I only give the new owners credit for that, then that is the type of back-up you are going to have.

“Our opposition in competition in League 1 is not Ipswich, Sunderland, not Sheffield Wednesday, yes we will compete with them and do our level best but these guys are spending between eight and 10 times more than our budget, 13-14 for the likes of Sheffield Wednesday. That gets you £15-£20,000 a week players. There marks the difference.”

Striker Charlie Kelman started for Gillingham on Tuesday night Picture: Andy Jones
Striker Charlie Kelman started for Gillingham on Tuesday night Picture: Andy Jones
Ben Reeves has a pop at goal for Gillingham but couldn't beat Tomas Holy Picture: Andy Jones
Ben Reeves has a pop at goal for Gillingham but couldn't beat Tomas Holy Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham forward John Akinde in action against Ipswich Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham forward John Akinde in action against Ipswich Picture: Andy Jones

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