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Match Previews

In focus: Gillingham match preview

8 April 2021

Take a closer look at the latest stats and facts in our match preview ahead of Town's Sky Bet League One clash with Gillingham.

Gillingham have enjoyed a positive season under experienced boss Steve Evans, and their campaign isn't over yet as the Gills look to sneak a finish in the top six. Sitting only a handful of points behind Lincoln City and Blackpool, the Kent club has a chance to earn a spot in the Play-Offs. Vadaine Oliver has been the dangerman for the Gills this season having notched 14 league goals for his team.

However, Town travel to Kent having picked up three points and a clean sheet in the last Sky Bet One league fixture having notched three goals past Plymouth Argyle. Steve Cotteril's men will be determined to have a strong finish to the season having picked up positive results under the Gaffer.

Name: Gillingham Football Club

Nickname: The Gills

Founded: 1893 (128 years ago)

Stadium: Priestfield Stadium

Capacity: 11,582

Chairman/owner: Paul Scally

Biggest win: 10-0 v Chesterfield, Division Three, 5th September 1987

Biggest loss: 2-9 v Nottingham Forest, Division Three (South), 18th November 1950

Highest League finish: 11th, Division One, 2002-03

Read Aaron Wilbraham's thoughts ahead of the trip to Priestfield...

Feature

Aaron Wilbraham previews Town's fixture with Gillingham

The Manager - Steve Evans

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Evans played professional football for Bolton Wanderers, Clyde, Albion Rovers, Ayr United, Hamilton Academical and St Johnstone until a knee ligament injury ended his playing career at 24.

Moving into management, Evans began his career with Stamford and Boston United before making the move to Crawley Town in 2007 - a stint that lasted five years. Another spell came in his next job as the 58-year-old joined Rotherham and spent three years at the New York Stadium. Short moves to Leeds United, Mansfield Town and Peterborough United came before Evans penned a deal at Priestfield Stadium.

Evans has enjoyed numerous successes as a manager and his best honors with Rotherham include:

  • Football League Two runner-up: 2012–13
  • Football League One play-offs: 2014

Goalkeeper - Jack Bonham

A product of the Watford academy, Bonham spent time on loan at Harrow Borough, before joining Brentford in June 2013 on a permanent deal. Although born in England, the keeper represented the Republic of Ireland at U17 level.

The 27-year-old shot-stopper joined the Gills in 2019 - signing a two-year deal in Kent following a free transfer to Priestfield. The keeper made 40 appearances in the Gills campaign last season. His former clubs include Brentford, Arlesey Town, Carlisle United, and Bristol Rovers. So far this season, the Gills have kept eight clean sheets in 40 league fixtures - a return of no goals in 20% of their league fixtures.

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Defender - Connor Ogilvie

Connor Ogilvie has a strong footballing pedigree having come through the Tottenham Hotspur youth academy. Despite not making a first-team appearance for Spurs, Connor did enjoy time out on loan with Stevenage and Gillingham before making the latter move a permanent one in 2019.

Having signed a two-year deal in Kent, the defender quickly settled into life with the Gills and was named as the club's Player of the Season at the conclusion of the 2019–20 season. The versatile 25-year-old can operate as a centre-back or in a left-back position.

Midfielder - Stuart O'Keefe

An experienced midfielder, and Gills captain, Stuart O'Keefe started his career in 2008 with Southend United before making the move to now Premier League outfit Crystal Palace.

The central midfielder has enjoyed spells with Blackpool, Cardiff City, MK Dons, Portsmouth and Plymouth but now calls Kent his permanent home after penning a contract with the Gills in June 2019. The 30-year-old is described as hard-working, energetic and athletic. So far this season, O'Keefe has racked up 10 yellow cards from midfield as he looks to enforce Steve Evans' midfield.

Forward - Vadaine Oliver

Leading the line for the Gills is Vadaine Oliver, A striker who has notched 14 goals for his team this season. The 29-year-old has hit form this season under Steve Evans and was nominated for the Sky Bet League One March Player of the Month.

Oliver began his career with Sheffield Wednesday but enjoyed his breakthrough with Lincoln City in the Conference Premier before leaving for Crewe Alexandra. Spending the majority of his career in Leagues One and Two, Oliver is currently enjoying the strongest form of his career with the Kent outfit.  His other former clubs include Mansfield Town, York City, Northampton Town, Notts County and Morecombe. Last season, Oliver was a key part of the Cobblers Play-Off promotion to the division before leaving for the Gills on a permanent transfer.

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Officials:

Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: Scott Williams and Damith Bandara
Fourth Official: Stephen Brown

League average stats:

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