‘I have no interest in the competition’ - Evans on EFL Trophy clash at Town

Both Paul Lambert and Steve Evans have said they're not enthused about tonight's EFL Trophy clash. P

Both Paul Lambert and Steve Evans have said they're not enthused about tonight's EFL Trophy clash. Picture: PA/PAGEPIX - Credit: Archant

Gillingham boss Steve Evans will follow Paul Lambert’s lead and play the kids in tonight’s EFL Trophy clash at Portman Road, saying ‘I have no interest in the competition.’

The outspoken Evans, who had a touchline beef with Lambert last season, seems to be in full agreement with his fellow Scotsman about tonight’s clash at Portman Road (7pm ko).

Town manager Lambert has said he will risk the £5,000 fine dished out for not meeting team selection rules by playing youth teamers and fringe players, arguing it was ‘mental’ that the Trophy is going ahead in the shortened season.

And Evans, whose side face Oxford in League One on Saturday, agrees.

He said: “We will make a lot of changes and maybe two or three youth players that did okay when we played behind closed doors against Peterborough. They may get an appearance on Tuesday.

You may also want to watch:

“The focus is Oxford, we need to be ready for that. They are a top, top class side. Two or three of the kids will be travelling on the team coach and they will be selected if we feel it is right.

MORE: Strength test, chances to shine, the next wave and waiting for new faces - Town in EFL Trophy action tonight

“I will make lots of changes. I can’t say it enough, I have no interest in the competition, none whatsoever. Last time we made eight or nine changes, it could be 10 or 11.

Most Read

“Declan (Drysdale) will probably need another game. (Christian) Maghoma was our best centre half for two weeks but went out with a little virus. It gives room for those lads to say that if I play really well at Ipswich I have a chance (against Oxford).”

Lambert, whose side lost 2-1 to Arsenal U21’s in their first Trophy group game, said: “It will be a young team and I make no apologies for it.

“If it’s good enough for (Liverpool boss) Jurgen Klopp to play his kids in the FA Cup when he’s got Premier League and Champions League games to worry about, then it’s good enough for us. We’ll take the hit whatever comes our way with it. I have to look after the first team.”

He added: “Fifty-odd games in a 35-week season is absolutely ludicrous. Playing the EFL Trophy is really, really mental.

“They should have sacrificed that tournament for one year at least. It’s absolute nonsense. It’s crazy.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter