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Gillingham manager Steve Evans confident side can reach League 1 play-offs if they navigate their next four matches

Steve Evans believes Gillingham will finish in the play-offs – if the next four games go according to plan.

Gills follow Saturday’s trip to League 1 giants Sunderland with Fleetwood at home and away games against MK Dons and Rotherham.

Gillingham boss Steve Evans fancies his side's play-off chances if the next four games go their way Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham boss Steve Evans fancies his side's play-off chances if the next four games go their way Picture: Ady Kerry

It’s a crucial run for the Gills with Evans’ confidence boosted by the fact four of their final six games are at Priestfield.

They’re eight points outside the play-offs in 11th after their 15-match unbeaten run ended last week, but the manager has his eyes firmly on the prize.

He said: “If we win on Saturday we could be back to within five or six points of the play-offs and it’s another away game notched off.

“We know how tough these next four games are, particularly with three away from home, but if we’re driving out of Rotherham and we’re within six points of the play-off group, I think we’ll get in it.

“I look at who plays each other, who can drop points. They can’t all win.

“One or two have got an easier run-in but three or four have got a real tough run-in so we need to be sitting on the shoulder ready to pounce.

“If we’re not going to pounce, we need to learn why we couldn’t and make sure we’re stronger in the summer.

“It would be unthinkable if we do it, according to many, but let’s do the unthinkable.

“When I went to Crawley, nobody said they would go back-to-back to League 1, nobody said Rotherham would go back-to-back to the Championship, nobody said we’d finish just outside the play-offs with Leeds when they were in a hole when I joined.”

Evans has huge respect for fifth-placed Sunderland, who are eight points clear of the Gills, but he intends to take the game to them.

They’ve already knocked the Black Cats out of the FA Cup and beaten them at home in the league this season.

“I totally respect them,” said Evans. “I’m not (Fleetwood boss) Joey Barton, who’s got a big connection with Newcastle and wants to wind up Sunderland supporters.

“Everything about Sunderland Football Club is fantastic. The stadium, the training ground, the owners, the professionalism, the fan base is incredible.

“We’ll go there Saturday and there’ll be 34 or 35,000 people and they’ve got a real chance of going up under an experienced manager in Phil Parkinson who I’ve got a lot of time for.

“It’s fair to say when we played them earlier in the season they were going through a little bit of a transition but now they’ve found a system, a way of playing, and they’ve strengthened in January.

“It’ll be tough for us but my players have not shirked a challenge all season. We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

"We're going to go to the Stadium of Light and try and win the game. It would senseless of us to try and nick a point, that doesn't help us.

"We've said we need to win some games, that's the style we've adopted since Christmas and we're going to do it again."

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