Published: 06:00, 04 February 2021
Gillingham boss Steve Evans has praised his counterpart Michael Appleton ahead of their meeting at Priestfield on Friday night.
Appleton’s Lincoln City are riding high in League 1 as the club continue their impressive rise. They sit second in the table behind Hull City on goal difference.
Evans’ side are on a good run of form at present and will be looking to maintain those levels for a match that is being broadcast live on Sky Sports.
The Gills manager said: “I have watched Lincoln City live on several occasions and been immensely impressed. We will have to be at our best.
“If we play at our best and Lincoln play at their best and they beat us we can accept it. It will be how we play that determines how much of a contest it will be.
“We’re going forward with a real positive approach. Our training ground is a very level camp whether we win or we don’t, we don’t have mood swings on three wins, or three losses, we try to keep it level. We have to keep reminding the players that the reason they come to training is for fitness but the main reason is to improve and to get ready for the next game and arguably our next game is the toughest of the season by some distance.
“They have a big budget, they won’t be in the realms of a Sunderland or Ipswich, but it’s three or four times what we’ve got. Credit to Michael Appleton, huge credit, they have a super team.
“It is alright having those kinds of resources but look at Ipswich, with even bigger resources, they are not in the same class as Lincoln. You can have resources but you have to spend them wisely. Michael Appleton and Liam Scully the chief exec in my opinion have done an outstanding job beyond words.”
The Gills are hoping for good news on the injury front after key midfield pair Kyle Dempsey and Callum Slattery both limped out of the action at Sunderland.
Slattery’s arrival on loan from Southampton has coincided with Gillingham’s run of form, starting the last four games and developing a winning relationship with captain Dempsey. The Gills could hand a debut to new signing James Morton following his loan move from Bristol City.
Tom O'Connor (groin) missed out last weekend and is another midfielder hoping to prove his fitness.
Lincoln City played in the week, beating league rivals Hull on penalties in the EFL Trophy. Last Saturday they lost 1-0 to Doncaster Rovers but missed two spot-kicks.
City dominated the match and Appleton, commenting afterwards, said: “It was arguably the best performance since I’ve been here...we made them look pretty ordinary.”
It was a comment that Evans was quick to pick up on, saying: “I think Doncaster are a stunning team and if they win their games in hand they go top. For Michael Appleton to come out and say they made Doncaster look very, very average, what that does, it puts me on alert and it should put our players on alert to what a team Lincoln must be if they have done that to Doncaster.
“We know what Doncaster did to us (they beat the Gills 2-1 but missed numerous chances). I’ll repeat what I’ve said before, anyone who finishes above Lincoln City will be in the Championship, I firmly believe that, that is the size of our task on Friday.”
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