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Gillingham manager Steve Evans would prefer a September 12 start and is preparing for a return to training

Gillingham could be back in training later this month.

The start date for a new campaign still hasn’t been announced - and that might be at least another week away - but many are expecting the 2020/21 season to begin on September 12.

Manager Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor are planning for a new season Picture: Ady Kerry
Manager Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor are planning for a new season Picture: Ady Kerry

Gills boss Steve Evans believes that date is the most likely, at present. Clubs have voted on their preferred start date with August 29 or the mid-September weekend the two options put to clubs.

The Premier League are expected to hold a board meeting next Friday, July 24, and that could get the ball rolling.

“I think the date will be September 12,” Evans said.

“I have spoken to several in the Championship, four or five managers in League 1, who are all working to a plan for that date.

“I think there is no doubts our dates will feed out from the Premier League, because they are big boys in terms of tv and media etcetera and I think following that hopefully there will be a package of support for EFL clubs from the Premier League and or the government.

“I have spoken to lots of people, and the chairman more than me, and I don’t know anyone who wants the 29th, everyone is gearing towards a September 12 start.

“Our chairman sought my opinion on it and September 12 makes more sense. He agreed. I think we will be running from then and it will be a case of what support packages are coming to help the burden on clubs as many are having a difficult time.”

Asked when the players could be back in, Evans suggested a date of July 27/28, and they’ve been put on standby to return. There hasn’t been any training at the club as a group since mid-March.

Evans has been busy talking to potential new signings but offers have had to wait until the club now when they will be starting. Packages could now be put to players on the basis of a September 12 start.

“Our chairman is working on a number of different scenarios in respect of budgets,” Evans said.

“We have already met with players and spoken of the football side and by next week we will be talking to them on the finances with a caveat that the chairman takes a view that it will be a September 12 start. If it is then on that basis we can say 'this is what we can do' and I think that will be the case with the majority of clubs.”

Gillingham are hoping to keep hold of some of their out of contract players but have yet to make firm offers to captain Max Ehmer or strikers Brandon Hanlan and Mikael Mandron.

Evans said: “I have spoken to Max and he was still very keen to stay. He has spoken to the chairman personally. The chairman reassured him he would be getting an offer and he thinks Max will be happy with it to go ahead but we need some assurances on this date.

“I think Max understands it but my view is the same to them all, if you don’t want to sign for Gillingham go and sign for someone else. It is quite simple.

“We might have lost Regan (Charles-Cook) and we might lose others, we don’t know because we are waiting, but we have to one million percent do what is right for this football club.”

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