Published: 06:00, 10 July 2019
Defender Jack Tucker and goalkeeper Joe Walsh have made a quick impression with boss Steve Evans.
The pair stood out for Evans in the opening week of pre-season and both got 45 minutes alongside the senior pros at Faversham on Saturday.
Eighteen-year-old keeper Walsh – an England youth international – has yet to feature competitively for the senior squad at Gillingham but has signed on professional terms for the first time this summer.
Tucker, 19, was limited to just one Football Trophy match last season after making his one and only league appearance in October 2017.
Speaking after the weekend win over Faversham, Evans said: “The big plus for me in the last 10 days isn’t who we have signed, because we have signed them for the right reasons, the big plus is Tucker and Walsh. I didn’t expect them to have that quality.
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“I don’t understand Tucker not playing, I understand Joe Walsh, because Tomas Holy was here, he was top drawer. Jack (Bonham) is top drawer and he is ahead of Joe at the moment.
“I have got the go-ahead from our chairman to sign another goalkeeper but I am thinking, 'where do I go and sign better than Joe Walsh?'”
Evans won’t need any more central defensive cover either, with Alfie Jones recently arriving on loan from Southampton to challenge Max Ehmer and Connor Ogilvie for the centre-back position. Gabriel Zakuani is also coming back from injury.
Tucker’s league appearance was on live TV against Portsmouth under Peter Taylor, also then playing alongside Ehmer,
Evans said: “We said when the game (at Faversham) finished, who starts in central defence?
“To be fair to Max Ehmer, he is looking like the Max Ehmer from a couple of years ago when he was top class and Connor is a good player, we know that.
"But if you came here, you didn’t know any players and you just saw them all wearing yellow, would Tucker stand out? I think he might.”
Evans won’t be afraid to throw the kids in at the expense of his new signings if he thinks they’re worthy.
He added: “Young kids want to play don’t they? They want the management team to see them and I am pleased we have two or three special kids and it is credit to the academy and credit to the chairman for funding a lot of it.
“Faversham supporters want to remember the names of Jack Tucker and Joe Walsh. They will be around for a while.”