Published: 10:00, 22 September 2021
| Updated: 11:39, 22 September 2021
Gills boss Steve Evans admitted there were fall outs and heated debate between himself and no.2 Paul Raynor over their full-back choices for Tuesday.
Evans in the end opted for experience over youth despite recalling teenager Bailey Akehurst back to Gillingham from his loan spell at Cray Wanderers.
David Tutonda was dropped to the bench as Robbie McKenzie got the unenviable job of dealing with Charlton livewire winger Corey Blackett-Taylor. Rhys Bennett was picked for right-back duties.
It was a pre-match debate that had seen the experienced management duo clash but Evans wouldn’t want it any other way.
He said: “There was a conversation on Monday when we debated the two full-back positions, myself and Paul Raynor. We had fall outs during the debate and that is what happens when you are very honest with each other. I have always said that.
“Paul has been with me for 15 years, or whatever it is, as assistant but I don’t want a yes man, there are too many managers around League 1 and 2, they pick yes people, those who say ‘yes gaffer, you are right.’ We don’t want that, we want honesty.
“I went home on Monday, slept on it, came back Tuesday and we debated it for another hour, probably with less heat, more factual.
“I felt that given that the magnitude of the game for both clubs, I just wanted a bit more experience.
“David Tutonda came out of the squad, he wasn’t very good for the last couple of games, but wasn’t it good to see him go out on the pitch (coming off the bench on Tuesday) and do really well?
“He made a vital challenge, showed great pace, got to the byline, one he went 80 yards, that is the David Tutonda we really like, if that has woken him up a bit then that is really good.”
With Ryan Jackson injured the right-back slot has been filled with several different faces, including McKenzie, Bennett and a few appearances for young pro Harvey Lintott.
Akehurst was a surprise inclusion in the squad but Evans would rather have him around the place than play for a struggling team. Isthmian League side Cray Wanderers - managed by former Gills striker Danny Kedwell - are going through a tough run of results. They lost 4-0 to Corinthian Casuals last week in what was Akehurst’s last appearance for them.
Evans said: “He can’t be playing for a team that gets beat four or five every week, he is a wonderful young left-back that we think really highly of.”
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