Published: 09:00, 24 September 2020
| Updated: 09:24, 24 September 2020
Teenage keeper Joe Walsh proved how capable he is on Wednesday night, said Gillingham manager Steve Evans.
A back injury to regular stopper Jack Bonham meant Walsh was called upon for the third round Carabao Cup match.
Evans, who chose not to risk Bonham, admitted it was a gamble not bringing in an emergency loan back-up but 18-year-old Walsh didn’t look out of place when facing a Championship side.
The Gills boss said: “I made the decision for Jack to not make the trip.
“It was a huge risk, of course, if anything had of happened to Joe. We ran that risk and we came through it.
“Ian Pledger (the goalkeeper coach) has done a lot of work on Joe and you can tell that. Simon Royce (the previous coach) started it in fairness to him, not just Pledge, the both of them have brought him on.
“We have had to pick our games. With Jack feeling a little twinge we couldn’t take any risks. We had an emergency option to bring in a keeper, up to three hours before kick off, and I said ‘why are we not playing Walsh?’
“A naive manager might have brought someone in on loan but Walsh could be in the under-23s for any Championship club in the country.
“We have to see if he is capable and he has proved he is capable. He needs to continue learning, continue to work hard on the training ground and when opportunities come he has to grab them.”
Evans didn’t feel a long trip north would have done Bonham any good but hopes he’ll be fit for Saturday to face Blackpool. Bringing in cover remains an option.
“I will make a decision on whether I feel I need to bring someone in,” he said.
“As to what level it is, whether it is someone who comes out and had the shirt of whether we have the confidence in Joe, he has done himself no harm.”
Read more on the Gills;