Published: 06:00, 05 October 2021
Gillingham’s midweek Trophy match could be an opportunity for some to reclaim their league shirts back.
Jack Tucker was left on the bench at the weekend while midfielders Olly Lee and Ben Reeves were also unused. QPR loan striker Charlie Kelman is another who will want to see more League 1 action.
Tuesday night’s home match against Ipswich Town is low down on Gillingham’s priority list but there is much to gain for players on a personal level.
Looking ahead to Gills’ second group-stage match, assistant boss Paul Raynor said: “There will be opportunities for people to stake a claim to play at Wycombe on Saturday and that is what the guys need, an opportunity to play, so we will take advantage of that.
“We have done alright in the last three or four games and we have not made a lot of changes but there will be opportunities to play against Wycombe which is great. I see those guys who are not playing in training, I see how much they want to play and how hard they are working, it doesn't go unnoticed and they will get an opportunity on Tuesday, I am sure.”
Ipswich lost their group opener to West Ham under-21s during a tough start to the season for manager Paul Cook after assembling a new-look squad. Results are improving for Town, however, and their B-team for Tuesday’s Trophy match won’t be short of talent.
The two sides are now familiar opponents in the EFL Trophy competition but the past two years have seen the Suffolk side win 2-0 last season and 4-0 the year before that.
Raynor said: “A win will take us through, the competition is not a priority but it is a game that we want to win. There will be changes but we will try and win.
“Once again we are coming up against an Ipswich team who had 20-odd signings and they are all quality so if he changed five or six then I am sure he will still be bringing in top League 1 players, even Championship.
“It will be another tough game but we will be ready, we will give it a go and the guys will give everything, we just need a bit more quality (after losing 2-0 to Wigan on Saturday).”
The decision on who to play centre-back on Saturday was a tough one, with Rhys Bennett keeping the shirt after doing well as stand-in while Tucker was suspended.
Speaking about the selection, Raynor said: “We were chatting about that up until about quarter past one (on Saturday), it was a real toss up, but if you deserve to play and you play and you put in a performance, and they got a clean sheet (against Cambridge), then you deserve to stay in. It would have been a little wrong if we had of left Max or Rhys out in place of Jack,
“There is no doubt that Jack Tucker will be champing at the bit for an opportunity on Tuesday to stake a claim to play at Wycombe.”
Tonight's game kicks off at 7pm.