Published: 05:00, 08 December 2021
Gillingham are set to be without Alex MacDonald for the rest of the season and two more have joined the injury list after Tuesday’s game.
MacDonald was hoping to return to action with a series of injections but manager Steve Evans says he will instead need an operation, ruling him out for the rest of the season. On Tuesday night at Rotherham defender Max Ehmer dislocated his shoulder and striker John Akinde picked up a hamstring injury. First choice keeper Jamie Cumming missed out with Covid.
Evans was hoping that a free weekend would allow time for some players to return to action but that’s not happened. David Tutonda had returned to training but pulled up with another hamstring complaint the day before the game at Rotherham and although defender Rhys Bennett made the trip, he didn’t feel that he was fit enough to play.
To make matters worse the Gills had Ryan Jackson sent off and he will now be suspended on Saturday for their trip to Fleetwood Town.
Commenting on his most recent injury issues, Evans said: “I had a conversation with Rhys Bennett and said if there were 25 minutes left would he be able to go on and he said ‘no’.
“Rhys sat there [he wasn't named as a substitute] and probably went home relieved. He is feeling his knee and David Tutonda pulled up feeling his hamstring again on Monday.
“There is no sign of people coming back and when they come back they are not ready to play. If we bring Ben Reeves back, who is probably the nearest, it is probably 80% chance of risking an injury with him. He is not ready to start games in League 1 with the competitiveness that it is.
“We have no options, it is either that or babies and we saw what happened with the babies didn’t we?"
Evans added: “I have used the word unprecedented and I know the chairman has used that word as well. I have never known anything like it, ever.”
Evans was asked if there is any good news?
He said: “Only the fact that my grandson is stopping over on Friday night, I will see him. That is the only good news.
“It is a hard drive to come into work every day to see what we have got in our treatment room, we love every one of them, they don’t want to be in there, but when you are injured you are injured.
“It is unprecedented times, unprecedented injuries. I sat with the chairman on Friday and he said he didn’t know anything like it. For once we agreed.”
On Tuesday the Gills were without senior players Cumming, Tutonda, Bennett, MacDonald, Kyle Dempsey, Reeves, Dan Adshead and Vadaine Oliver.
Cumming is expected to return at the weekend, which means Evans could have 11 professionals at his disposal, which includes first year pros Harvey Lintott and Gerald Sithole.