Steve Evans’ returns to Priestfield with table-topping Boro


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After managing the Gills for almost three years, the 59-year-old returns to the Kent club for the very first time as he looks to maintain his Stevenage side’s lead at the top of League Two. 

Sometimes, sporting narratives write themselves, and though Gillingham v Stevenage may not leap off the page as a fixture, there is certainly plenty behind this upcoming League Two encounter. 

Gillingham have had a wretched 2022, which has now led to them sitting just three points above the drop zone in England’s fourth tier. 

However, this story started back in January, as Steve Evans was sacked following a 4-0 home loss to Ipswich Town, with the club sitting 21st in League One. 

Former Millwall and Cardiff City manager Neil Harris took charge in an attempt to guide the Gills to safety, but was unable to prevent relegation to League Two after a nine year stint in the third tier. 

After being sacked by Gillingham, Steve Evans was subsequently appointed by Stevenage, who had struggled against relegation the previous season after three years of flirting with the drop zone. 

The appointment raised eyebrows, but not even the most optimistic of ‘Boro fan could have anticipated the success that the Scotsman would have in his first three months in charge. 

Just two defeats in 17 games across three competitions have seen the Hertfordshire side top of League Two, into the Carabao Cup Third Round and top of their Papa John’s Trophy group. All of which coming with a modest sized squad, things really could not get much better for the club. 

Of course, for every peak there is a trough, though Stevenage have seemingly yet to hit it this season. Outside of the losses against Bradford City and Salford City, Evans’ side have conceded just five league goals in the remaining 11 games. Additionally, ‘Boro have upset the odds once more by being the league’s joint highest scorers. 

Gillingham, on the contrary, have had a disastrous start to their campaign, with a nine game winless run in League only halted at the turn of the month. The glaring opposition in fortunes is further epitomised by the Kent side being the league’s lowest scorers, with just four league goals to their name, averaging at 0.25 per game. 

Whilst Gills fans are still far from pleased with the current state of affairs, one defeat in eight games in all competitions has at least steadied the ship, and perhaps bought Neil Harris some time to turn the club’s fortunes around. 

Five changes from the side that drew with Crewe were made for the Papa John’s Trophy clash with Colchester United in midweek, with the Gills winning on penalties after a 1-1 draw. 

Gillingham are likely to be without Stuart O’Keefe, Ben Reeves, Olly Lee and David Tutonda, whilst Portsmouth loanee Haji Mnoga is available for selection. 

Meanwhile, Stevenage will only be without Elliot List and boast a largely healthy squad barring any late changes as they head into this game riding a five game winning streak.

This will be the first meeting of the two sides since a 2015 FA Cup 1st Round clash, with ‘Boro running out 3-0 winners. 

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