Published: 08:00, 28 April 2021
| Updated: 09:48, 28 April 2021
Gillingham’s play-off hopes may be over but manager Steve Evans insists winning still matters.
The Gills have two games to go, against Burton Albion on Saturday and Plymouth Argyle next Sunday, and it will be places, not promotion, that Evans’ men will now have to target.
Tuesday night’s results mean the Gills could still, mathematically, claim a play-off spot but it would require a huge goal swing and numerous results to go their way. Instead the focus must be to beat last season’s 10th-place finish.
Gillingham currently occupy 10th spot, ahead of the likes of Ipswich and Doncaster, and they have every chance of moving higher up the table by the close of play.
“There is much work to be done and to finish the season with two wins must be the priority,” Evans said.
“We will prepare properly for Burton Albion. Just because you are not in the play-off group doesn’t mean you don’t fight to win.”
Evans has maintained throughout the season that the club have been working with the lowest resources in League 1 but the team have continued to push for a place among the division’s elite.
Breaking that top six has been hard, however. A fantastic points haul in March took them from 15th to sixth but since then the results have dropped off and the Gills have slid back out of contention.
A frustrating home draw with lowly Shrewsbury was followed by a defeat to Oxford, having been 2-0 up until late on, and they threw away another two-goal advantage against Northampton. Those last two games came either side of a fabulous 1-0 win at title-chasing Peterborough.
“We have come so far from what was expected,” Evans said.
“We have come from six players on the opening day of pre season training, we were scratching our heads when there was one or two we didn’t get.
“You look at it over a season, we have not had the quality at certain times, we have predominantly been playing with 12-13 players who have been trying to claw us there.
“We have just fallen short by missing two or three (players) that would make a massive difference to us in key areas of the team. We have not got them and we fight on, we take the disappointment and prepare for Burton.
“We have Burton and then the last game against Plymouth on the Sunday to see where it takes us and then we will have a few days to think about where our futures lie, where we are going to be, what we are going to do, and then with the calmness of a couple of days away from it make some informed decisions that is right for all of us.”