Published: 06:00, 17 January 2020
Mission impossible might look a bit more possible if Steve Evans' Gillingham team can get a result this weekend.
The Gills are on a seven-game unbeaten run in League 1 and come up against the best team they’ve faced so far, Oxford United.
Evans’ side were comfortably beaten in the away game at Oxford but since then the Gills have moved to within striking distance of the play-offs - something many doubted could be achieved.
“We need to be coming out of this tough run of games in the mix," said Evans. "If we win on Saturday then we are right in it.
“If we could get near that top group, never mind in it, that would be outstanding from the players, who have to deliver, and the brilliant staff.
“I said to the chairman I would always try and get value for money but he does the contracts, the negotiations along with Tom (the chief exec). For what we are spending to the results, they have done brilliant as well.
“This is hugely challenging. I have always been at a club which has been well resourced and I have never hidden that.
“I got unbelievable support at Peterborough, Mansfield the same, you don’t need finances at Leeds. If Leeds bid for one of our players he should offer to play for £1 a week and go there on his bike, that’s how big Leeds is but they are well resourced.
"I was well resourced at Crawley and good resources at Rotherham. I never hid it but I kept winning promotions.
“My remit here was to not give the chairman sleepless nights towards the end of the season, thinking we need a couple of wins to stay up. If you measure it on that then I think we will do alright, but I came here thinking ‘can I do the impossible?’
“I was having communication with a chief exec of another club and said we were trying to do it on x-budget and he said ‘you would get manager of the century if you do it on that budget,’ because he didn’t believe it. I text back and told him to check the benchmarking, the document the EFL send out and what every club can look at to see where they are (in terms of wages paid).
“When I took the job here I had five or six managers text me and say ‘what are you doing?’ Not because they had anything against the club, but they said, ‘you have got no chance.’
“The chairman of Swindon, Lee Power, he played for me and I can remember after I was appointed, he said, ‘wow, what a challenge you have taken on, that is a mountain you are climbing with training shoes.’ He meant it.
"He said the place would be rocking if I did well, saying how it was a club with huge potential, but in the same token he said with those resources you are opening yourself up to a lot of abuse, people saying you can’t manage and do this or that, but every week we are trying to prove people wrong.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)