Controversial Gillingham boss Steve Evans has revealed he turned down the chance to sign a striker last week despite having Board approval for the move.
Speaking to Kent Online, Evans claimed he was not prepared to break the club’s wage structure to complete the deal for the unknown striker. He said: ‘Our chairman wanted me to sanction a player on Thursday and it would have taken an individual’s wages really high for this club, and people can believe it or not, I said no.’
‘The chairman has been absolutely fantastic. I think he was frustrated at not being able to give me one of the players that I wanted.’
Although no name was mentioned, the report implies the potential target was John Akinde who was not in the Imps squad for Saturday’s win over Blackpool. Akinde came as a substitute during Tuesday night’s 5-1 win over Bolton, scoring two goals in a game-changing performance. When quizzed over Saturday’s absence, Imps boss Michael Appleton suggested Akinde had declared himself unfit for the game after pulling up in training on Thursday.
Evans refuted claims he was not at Sincil Bank on Tuesday insisting he was at Burton Albion to watch their 1-0 win over MK Dons. He said: ‘There were reports that I was at Lincoln (last ) Tuesday, but I wasn’t, I was at Burton Albion!’
‘I had my daughter ringing me up saying ‘I thought you were in Burton, near Derby,’ and I was! She said her mate and boyfriend had said I was in Lincoln.’
‘If I do have a lookalike, he needs to go on a diet!’
Gillingham are currently on a good run, unbeaten in eight after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Oxford, and Evans concluded breaking the wage structure for the player would be too much of a risk to the growing team spirit and togetherness in his squad. He added: ‘All these lads earn roughly the same and they are committed. Players speak, same as they do in any work.’
‘They are a great group, and we don’t want to be turning around and saying ‘yes it sounds great we’ve made a signing’, and in six months I am not here with people asking why was that decision made?’
‘I think I always made the right decisions when I was at Mansfield and Rotherham and at Posh where I was involved in saying yes or no.’
Interesting comments from Evans, the only conclusion we can reach is that when push came to shove, he didn’t fancy the striker enough to push the boat out.
If he did, based on his previous track record, we are sure the deal would have been completed.
If it was Akinde, It could well be a sign Lincoln are open to moving on another player this window as Michael Appleton continues to re-shape the Imps squad.