Gillingham manager Steve Evans has welcomed the enforced Christmas break.
Boxing Day opponents Peterborough United have postponed three games, including the trip to Priestfield, after a positive Covid-19 case was confirmed at the club - the fifth team in League 1 in recent weeks to be hit with the virus.
Evans is currently without some key men through injury, including forwards Jordan Graham and Dominic Samuel, while the likes of Trae Coyle, Vadaine Oliver and Jacob Mellis are all working on their fitness after various issues. Coyle, Oliver and Henry Woods were all unused subs at the weekend and Evans was reluctant to use any of them as none were match fit.
“We need the break because of the players we haven’t got available to play,” said the manager, who is looking forward to brining in some additions when the transfer window opens in January.
“We need some help. We had players on the bench who weren’t fit, Henry Woods, Vadaine Oliver and Trae Coyle, who was 70% fit, he wanted to get on but I am a professional football manager and I don’t want to put them on unless I really need them.
“We will use the nine days to get back to 100%.”
Northampton Town are up next for the Gills, Evans’ men heading to the PTS Academy Stadium for a game on Tuesday, December 29. They too haven’t got a game on Boxing Day after scheduled opponents Ipswich Town pulled out because of a Covid outbreak.
Ipswich manager Paul Lambert, the club’s head of football operations and several players have all picked up the new variant of coronavirus, which is understood to spread rapidly.
Sunderland are currently on a three-game break due to Covid issues while Portsmouth are the latest club to have experienced an outbreak of the virus. Bristol Rovers are expected to resume action on Boxing Day after recent positive cases in their camp.
Gillingham’s youth team have experienced positive cases but the senior side have, so far, steered clear of the virus, dispute the club being in the eye of the storm. Medway is one of the worst hit areas of the new variant.
Manager Evans said: “We drum into the players how bad Covid is and the people in Medway and Kent need to get a grip of it, we all need to focus on it.
“A message from me with a football connection is ‘come on, the government have said if we act like we have got the virus then we might make inroads on it.’”
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