'We have three or four who are underperforming': Gillingham boss Steve Evans has this message ahead of Sunderland clash

Gillingham boss Steve Evans admits he has three or four players who are underperforming – but hopes his injury-hit side can make things difficult against Sunderland.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 8:00 am

The Gills have won just one of their last eight League One games and are 19th in the table ahead of the fixture at Priestfield.

Evans is also managing several injury setbacks after left-back David Tutonda was ruled out with a hamstring injury, while right-back Ryan Jackson and winger Mustapha Carayol remain doubts.

"It's very unlikely that we will have Jackson or Carayol available to us,” said Evans.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Gillingham boss Steve Evans.

"There are one or two others carrying knocks, but I believe we can get a positive result."

Despite Gillingham’s poor form, Evans believes home advantage can be a factor against Sunderland, who needed two late goals, scored by Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch, to win last season’s game at Priestfield.

The Gills boss will be hoping for a far better start than in his side’s last league match, when they were beaten 2-0 at Wycombe after conceding twice in seven minutes.

“When you are experienced the first thing you don’t do is panic,” said Evans.

“We have good players here. We have perhaps three or four who are underperforming and what gets them back to their top level is competition for places and that is my problem.”

He added: “We need a shape and a system and a way to try and compete against Sunderland.

“Wycombe were taken apart by Sunderland at the Stadium of Light recently, it was 3-1 going on seven, and that is our task Saturday.

“Our supporters clapped our team off (at Wycombe), they know they are giving everything, they are disappointed and they were devastated after eight minutes and I was the same.

“We have to be ready for Saturday now and we know the fans will come out and support us because that is what supporters do.

“Priestfield will have a great atmosphere and we have to make sure it is an exciting atmosphere at time up.”

Sunderland have dropped to fourth in League One, albeit with games in hand, after last week’s game against Oxford was postponed due to international call-ups.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Sunderland AFC coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor