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Gillingham chairman Paul Scally on a challenging start to the season and issues in the directors' box at AFC Wimbledon

There’s no room for sympathy says Gillingham chairman Paul Scally after discussing the team’s challenging start to the season.

A Covid-hit pre-season schedule has meant the Gills playing catch-up on their fitness and several players have suffered niggling injuries because of it. It’s meant manager Steve Evans has turned to youth to fill up his matchday squad in the opening weeks.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally Picture: Andy Jones

Mr Scally, speaking to the club’s media, was asked if he had sympathy for the manager and said, with a grin: “I have no sympathy for him at all, he has enough players, he has a big budget and he wouldn't want me to have sympathy for him.

“We work very closely together, I understand him and he understands me, he wouldn't want me to have sympathy for him, he just wants me to help him, encourage him and stick together. We are fighting a battle here, week in week out at the moment, until we get all of our players back and we get all our players fit.

“When you go to war you stand side by side and I am not going to turn around and have sympathy for anyone.

“When you fight wars you haven't got time for emotion, you need to try and win the games.”

The Gills hope to hand Norwich loan midfielder Daniel Adshead his debut against Morecambe on Saturday. He has joined on loan while defender Christian Maghoma has joined Eastleigh.

With finances tight, it could be a case of one out, one in, if Evans wants to juggle his options. Striker John Akinde remains at the club after rejecting a move to Bristol Rovers.

Mr Scally said: “We need to get players out to get players in, that may or may not happen, but Steve is fairly content with the squad he has got, he just needs to get them fit, that is the biggest problem, they haven’t had enough match play and they have picked up injuries because the players aren't physically ready.

“We would like to bring in more players if we could afford to. We are always looking at ways to bring in players but keep within a reasonable budget that keeps the club going.”

Mr Scally described Tuesday’s last-gasp draw against Wimbledon as a “fantastic and special evening” but there was an incident at the end in the directors’ box that the chairman wasn’t happy about.

He said: “I was clapping the team off, being very proud of the result they got and I was conscious of a person next to me who I thought was a Wimbledon director or guest of a director. It turned out to be quite the opposite.

“A supporter got in there and shouldn't have been there, that breached their security. He wasn’t particularly pleasant, he looked extremely strange, he smelt like he had been drinking quite heavily.”

Mr Scally said he would comment more on the incident next week, adding: “If (it was) the person who has been named to me, I have had an issue with him in the past and I let him off the hook, I could have taken him to court. I decided it wasn’t worth the effort, he hasn’t learnt from it and I will now consider what I will do.”

Reflecting on that midweek draw at Wimbledon's Plough Lane, Scally added: "It was a bit chaotic, clearly they (Wimbledon) haven’t got their act together but I am sure they will in time, but the team I feel so proud of, they were on their knees at the end and worked so hard.

"It was a difficult night as we were down on number because we had some key injuries, we had two more the day before the game, we were asking a lot of our 11 starting players but they stuck to it.

"We are backs against the walls, we missed pre-season training and three games, good games which would got our match fitness up, so you can only praise the players and the management."

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