Published: 06:00, 14 November 2020
Gillingham players were worked overtime at the end of the week to allow them a weekend at home.
Their scheduled game against Lincoln City was postponed due to international call-ups and the rest has been well earned. They may also be relieved that they don't have to hear the manager singing any more, too, as he celebrated Scotland's big international win.
The Gills have crammed 11 league fixtures into the first few weeks of the season and including cup games have averaged a match every three and a half days.
It’s been a hectic start and with the Gills through to the next stages of the EFL Trophy and the FA Cup, along with the rescheduled Lincoln game, it’s going to be a busy lead up to Christmas.
Upbeat manager Steve Evans has given the players the chance for a breather and said: “We hope the break has come at a good time. We loaded them up in the latter part of the week, we really grafted them and they are ready to get off their legs for a couple of days. We will start again (on Monday) to build them up ready for Charlton (next Saturday).”
The coaching staff aren’t taking it easy, however, with games at Bradford City (against FA Cup second round opponents Exeter), Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury on the “to watch” list. Evans will also be keeping his eye out for potential January recruits.
Training was hard on Friday but the manager had a spring in his step following Scotland’s qualification for Euro 2020.
Glaswegian-born Evans was singing his way into Kent, rattling out the ‘Flower of Scotland’ across the Dartford bridge, before another rendition at the training ground with Alex MacDonald - a former Scotland under-21 international.
“I drove in with Pledge (the goalkeeper coach) and he was shaking his head pretending to be asleep!” joked proud Scotsman Evans.
“I was playing it loudly driving into the training ground. I asked Scott Robertson (the Celtic loanee) and Alex MacDonald to join me, Scott being the young and polite man he is, he just sat down and laughed, but myself and Alex MacDonald were walking about singing and people like O’Keefe and Dempsey were being abusive."
Evans text his congratulations to Scottish national manager Steve Clarke and penalty hero goalkeeper David Marshall, following their shootout win over Serbia, a victory which booked them a place in their first major tournament in 23 years.
“It’s was a boost our country needed, a little lift that put smiles on faces,” said Evans. “I’ll be at Wembley next summer along with 60,000 Scottish fans to watch them play England.
“We will enjoy it but as Stuart O’Keefe reminded me,just book the holiday for seven days, I won’t need an extension.”
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