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Gillingham boss Steve Evans pleased with the recent performances of striker John Akinde

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Manager Steve Evans has praised the recent performances of Gillingham striker John Akinde.

With Gillingham’s only other out and out senior striker Vadaine Oliver sidelined with injury, it’s been down to Akinde to lead from the front.

John Akinde on the attack for Gillingham Picture: Andy Jones
John Akinde on the attack for Gillingham Picture: Andy Jones

The goals might not have been flowing for the Gills - they haven’t scored in their last four - but Evans has been pleased with his striker’s contribution.

“We have to recognise how well John Akinde has stepped up in the last few games,” said Evans.

“I had a bit of a tiff-taff with him, and him with me, and I think since then, you have to be honest and look at the performances and say he has been outstanding.

“He has caused havoc and had he got his rewards last Saturday (against Portsmouth) then he would have got a penalty and scored the goal. John probably went home that night like we all did and thought ‘why have I not been given that penalty?’ That has gone now and whether we have V or not, John in that type of form is a big asset for us.”

The lack of goals has been recognised by Evans but with some big players out, the Gills haven’t been able to produce where it has mattered.

Evans said: “You have a bigger concern as a manager if you have performances like we did a few weeks ago, they understood they weren’t where they should be, but in that period we were minus 10 of our players, with two or three academy lads starting.

“We are proud of the (young players) and in time they will earn a good living but they are still not ready.

“In terms of goals, they will come, we are playing well, we have been missing big goalscorers, the likes of Oliver and Dempsey, MacDonald, boys who will step up and get you a goal. Muzzy gets you a goal but he has been fighting hard to get his match fitness because he missed some weeks with a little strain. There are goals in the team but we need the best players in the team on the pitch.”

There were no shortages of decent chances last time out, with the Gills unfortunate not to get something from that Portsmouth match.

“(Danny) Lloyd on another day could have had the match ball,” said the manager. “He had two chances on his right foot but the one on his left side, on his natural side, I was waiting for him to drill it across the goalkeeper. He puts it into the seats but he is infectious, he gives us great energy, he is another lad we love having around us.”

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