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Gillingham defender Jack Tucker hoping to have played his way into FA Cup replay reckoning

Young Gillingham defender Jack Tucker is hoping he’s done enough to earn himself an FA Cup experience.

Tucker was dropped to the bench for the FA Cup first round match at Sunderland but has responded positively.

Jack Tucker in action against Tottenham under-21s Picture: Ady Kerry
Jack Tucker in action against Tottenham under-21s Picture: Ady Kerry

Since watching the 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light from the sidelines, Tucker has come back into the side with a goal against Tottenham’s kids in the EFL Trophy before helping keep Lincoln quiet in a 1-0 win at Priestfield.

The Gills face Sunderland in a replay on Tuesday.

“It would be good to be involved,” said Tucker, who turned 20 last week. “Playing in the FA Cup is what every kid dreams of doing.

“Sunderland are a big side coming down. I am just waiting to see what the team is but I will take it as it comes.

"If I am picked I will give 100% and if not, then whoever plays in my position, they will get my full backing and I will support the boys 100%.”

Watching from the bench at Sunderland is as close as he’s been to playing in the competition.

His only other FA Cup highlight was attending the 2014 final at Wembley and seeing Arsenal – the club he supported growing up – beat Hull 3-2.

“That’s the only memory that sticks in my head. Other than that, that’s about it,” he said.

Tucker has played 15 senior games for the Gills, 13 of them under the current boss.

Manager Steve Evans has been talking the youngster up ever since taking charge at Priestfield and Tucker is hopeful of living up to the hype.

He said: “My ambition is to go to the highest level I can in the future but at the moment my full focus is on Gillingham and making sure I put in good performances.

“When you think too far ahead is when things can go wrong, you just have to take it as it comes and if it is meant to be, it will be.”

Tucker is level-headed – he’s clever too with 12 GCSEs – and being left out for the first game against Sunderland wasn’t something that got him down.

He said: “It has been a positive week after being left out. I just need to make sure I am putting positive thoughts in the manager’s head rather than negative ones.

“You just have to keep doing your thing, you have to make sure it stays positive. He won’t be picking me if I am playing badly.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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