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Goals more important than cash, says Gillingham boss Steve Lovell after club reject deadline day offers for leading scorer Tom Eaves

Gillingham’s decision not to cash in on striker Tom Eaves paid immediate dividends on Saturday.

The Gills rejected offers from at least one League 1 club for their leading scorer on Thursday night, the final day of the January transfer window.

Eaves ended his goal drought by scoring a last-gasp penalty equaliser to earn his relegation-threatened side a point at Coventry.

Gills boss Steve Lovell is delighted top scorer Tom Eaves is staying at the club Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills boss Steve Lovell is delighted top scorer Tom Eaves is staying at the club Picture: Ady Kerry

Lovell admitted it would have been tempting to take the money offered – with Sunderland believed to be leading the interest – but the Gills decided that his goals were more important.

“I was just keeping my fingers crossed that come 11pm (on Thursday) that Tom would still be with us,” said Lovell.

“You are always tempted but at the end of the day we didn’t have to (sell) and we didn’t want to.

“I wanted Tom to stay, the club wanted Tom to stay.

“The interest that was there didn’t matter because we wanted him to stay and sometimes it is harder if you let someone go because you still have to replace them.

“Tom has scored 16 goals this season and he means the world to us, I love him to bits.

“He is a great pro, he is great to be around, he works hard and he got his reward for the work he put in.

“He will get more goals between now and the end of the season.”

Sunderland did manage to bolster their own strike force, shelling out £4million to sign Will Grigg from Wigan – making EIGHT offers before finally landing their man. They also drafted in Tottenham loanee Kazaiah Sterling.

Eaves, 27, hadn’t scored since netting against Wycombe in mid-December, missing games since then with injury and then having to play while speculation over his future mounted.

Just before Christmas, Gills chairman Paul Scally said it was unlikely Eaves would sign a new contract at the club when his two-year deal expires in the summer.

Lovell was delighted with how his striker had handled the situation.

“It hasn’t been easy for him with all the speculation that has been around him but he has been nothing but professional,” added Lovell.

“He has worked hard every day, he loves it here at this football club.

“I am really pleased and I am sure the supporters are (too) that he is here until the end of the season.”

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