Scout report: How Gillingham and Tom Eaves have fared since Sunderland's reported interest

Sunderland face their third consecutive home game in eight days tonight when Gillingham will visit the Stadium of Light - but what can they expect?

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 1:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 2:07 pm
Gillingham striker Tom Eaves has scored 15 league goals this season.

Jack Ross' side will come up against Tom Eaves, who was linked with a move to the Stadium of Light last month.

But who else do the Black Cats need to keep an eye on, and how are the Gills shaping up ahead of tonight's fixture?

We take a closer look:

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What system will Gillingham play?

Manager Steve Lovell has tinkered with a back three this season but has often opted for a 4-1-2-1-2 set-up with a diamond in midfield.

The system allows another striker to support Eaves, who has scored 15 league goals this term.

Despite sitting 17th in League One, the Gills have scored more league goals than the sides around them (42 in total).

But, against the top sides, Gillingham have preferred to sit deep, with Elliot List and Brandon Hanlan providing pace on the break.

Who are Gillingham's key players?

At 6 ft 4 Eaves is the obvious threat for the visitors, yet the 27-year-old striker has scored just once in his last seven League One appearances, dating back to December 29.

Eaves isn't the biggest player in the Gillingham side, though, and 6 ft 9 Czech goalkeeper Tomas Holy has been an ever-present this season.

Centre-back Max Ehmer is also an imposing figure at 6 ft 3 and has played at a higher level with QPR and Preston.

Do Gillingham have any injury concerns?

The game will come too soon for defender Alex Lacey (ankle), while striker Ricky Holmes (back) is also a doubt.

Captain Gabriel Zakuani will miss the rest of the season after having an operation on his ankle.

Who is Gillingham's manager and what can we expect from them?

After making over 200 appearances for Gillingham between 1987 and 1992, Lovell is extremely passionate about the club.

He held numerous coaching positions before taking over as manager in September 2017, following the sacking of Adrian Pennock.

However, Lovell, 58, remains relatively inexperienced as a manager at this level, with fans questioning his tactics this term.

What form have Gillingham been in?

After going four league games without a win, Gillingham eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win over Scunthorpe last time out.

Lovell's side remain just three points clear of the relegation zone, though, and have struggled in front of goal in recent weeks.

Last six league games: WLDDLW