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Gillingham beat Watford at Priestfield in a practice game as boss Steve Evans accesses fringe players

Gillingham boss Steve Evans got the performance he was looking for on Tuesday.

He’s challenged those players on the outside looking in to prove they are good enough for a starting place.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans watched his team put six past a young Watford side Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham manager Steve Evans watched his team put six past a young Watford side Picture: Ady Kerry

Yesterday afternoon he watched on as a Gills XI beat Watford’s under-23s 6-3 in a behind closed doors match at Priestfield.

Mikael Ndjoli scored a first-half hat-trick, including a penalty, while Brandon Hanlan also netted as the Gills led 4-1 at the break.

Second half substitutes Olly Lee and Mikael Mandron – from the penalty spot – added to the tally in the second half.

Evans said: “It is about giving the players the opportunity to say, ‘okay, I’m disappointed I am not in the first team but how do you get in the first team?’ You don’t get in the first team by saying ‘I’ll come and see you gaffer and have a beer’ – I’ve got no time for that.

“I have no time for players sitting in my office saying I should be playing infront of so and so. The way you demonstrate it is that you play in these games, training as well, and you try and make the coaching staff think, ‘we need to try and find a place for him’.

“The best example was Mandron, he played the two games (one practice match and one in the EFL Trophy), he got three goals and we thought he deserved to go in.

Mikael Ndjoli scored a first half hat-trick for Gillingham against Watford's under-23s Picture: Ady Kerry
Mikael Ndjoli scored a first half hat-trick for Gillingham against Watford's under-23s Picture: Ady Kerry

“As long as you pick it fairly, I think the lads are getting it now. These are the stages to perform. There were some good performances out there.”

Mark Marshall wasn’t on the scoresheet but had a first half that Evans described as terrific. He’s one player looking to get up to speed fitness-wise.

Evans said: “People like Mikael Mandron have found themselves getting in the team and Marshall will find himself in the team if he performs consistently like he did on Tuesday.

"Their left-back didn’t know where he was. It is important to outline how you get into the team. It’s not by being the teacher’s pet, the way to get in is demonstrated by action.”

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