Published: 10:43, 30 July 2020
| Updated: 10:58, 30 July 2020
Boss Steve Evans believes Gillingham are closing in on their first summer signing.
Evans says he is optimistic the League 1 club will add to the nine senior players currently contracted to the club - including Lee Hodson and Barry Fuller who have been told they aren't part of the club's plans going forward - before the end of the week.
In an update to Gills fans, Evans also confirmed Brandon Hanlan and Mikael Mandron have been offered new deals after the start date for the new Football League season was confirmed on Friday and that the players will report for pre-season training next week.
"Listen, we are working really hard behind the scenes to add to the group," he said.
"We are confident we will do that. Certainly by the end of the week, we will have something done.
"Are we in need of players when we only have got seven? Very much so.
"Are we in need of any type of player? No.
"We are in need of players that will improve and help us.
"So that’s what we are working hard to do."
When asked if he was confident he would have completed his first close-season signing by Friday (tomorrow), Evans replied: "Yeah, I’m confident we will announce our first signing for the new season on Friday.
"All being well, that gets done.
"We will dot the i’ and cross the t’s, then it’s done.
"Then hopefully, we will be active between now and then too.
"We are conscious we are light on numbers. We could sign a lot of players today without thinking about it, but they wouldn’t improve us.
"They wouldn’t help us improve our position from the season that’s just gone (when Gills finished 10th).
"Of course, that’s the minimum objective to improve on what we have done.
"We have to be careful, especially in post-covid times in football that our spending is tighter than ever.
"But I think that’s been the same around all football (clubs) below Championship level."
The former Rotherham, Mansfield and Peterborough boss says he is open to bolstering Gillingham's ranks in all outfield positions but he says he is happy having Jack Bonham and Joe Walsh as the two keepers in his first-team squad.
He said: "Well, we have seven players.
"They are probably not all guaranteed to start.
"We are certainly not recruiting in the goalkeeping department. We have Jack Bonham who was tremendous.
"He made everyone forget about Tomas Holy which is no mean feat, and (we have) a very good and exciting youngster in Joe Walsh.
"Obviously if we made the decision later in the pre-season programme for Joe to go on loan and get some games, we would consider a back-up to Jack or someone who could compete with him.
"But at the minute, that’s an area we are not recruiting in.
"The rest of the areas we are."
Evans added it's now up to strikers Mandron and Hanlon whether they will take up Gills' offers and stay at Priestfield.
He said: "Listen, it now lies with them.
"I have had long chats, not just with them, but with a lot of other players.
"People always want a number of days to think things through.
"We only want players that want to be here. That’s massively important.
"We won’t get involved in an auction.
"As a manager, it’s very easy to run away with one player and get overly excited but you understand the budget then gets seriously dented.
"We have to pitch what this club can afford, pitch being sensible.
"Not just those players, but a lot of players will be giving us answers by the end of the week."
Evans also said Irish midfielder Mark Byrne will be given the chance to join Gillingham's pre-season training group after he missed the second-half of last campaign with a serious knee injury.
More by this authorThomas Reeves
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