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Gillingham matchwinner Mikael Mandron now proving his worth after early-season struggles, says boss Steve Evans

Weekend matchwinner Mikael Mandron faced an uncertain future at Gillingham after a slow start to his time at Priestfield, revealed boss Steve Evans.

Mandron signed for the Gills in the summer as Evans finally landed a striker who he had previously targeted while manager of Peterborough.

Mikael Mandron applauds the Gills fans at the final whistle on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry
Mikael Mandron applauds the Gills fans at the final whistle on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry

Non-league clubs were queuing up in recent weeks as he struggled for game-time with the Gills but Evans is thrilled to see the Parisian finally show his true potential.

“We think he enjoyed his summer a little bit too much,” said Evans. “He wasn’t quite right to play with us, especially with the intensity that we like to play.

“He came into my office about a month ago, four or five top Conference clubs wanted him but he said, ‘I am going to show you, I am going to get fit and sharp and I will play my part’.

“He has played one-and-a-half games really well, half a game before that, he now needs to do that 10-12 games to be thinking he is going to be a regular.”

Mandron was back in Paris on Saturday night with his family after scoring a 24th-minute goal to clinch three points for the Gills against Lincoln.

That close proximity to the French capital was key to getting a deal sorted in the summer.

Evans said: “Mika made it clear in the summer that he wanted to go somewhere close to Paris. It was important to him that he could get back, he is very tight with his family.

“It is amazing, with the Eurostar that kid can be in Paris before I am at Peterborough.”

Mandron was wearing a gum shield on Saturday after breaking his front teeth during an impressive showing last week at Sunderland.

Evans was pleased he once again did the business.

The Gills boss said: “He is a kid that comes in now, fully focused. From July to September it wasn’t quite there.

“I said to him ‘I want you in my team, I signed you to play you’ and his focus has been top drawer.

“He was terrific at Sunderland and on Saturday, over the 90 minutes, he gave their three centre-backs a real tough afternoon.

“He should score another with a header, he was disappointed with that. He was unlucky with the one that hit the bar but the front two worked ever so hard for the team. He could have had three.”

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