Meet the opposition: Can Town make it four on the spin at Gillingham?

A general view of Coventry City players warming up before the Carabao Cup match at Priestfield Stadi

Town head to Gillingham this weekend - Credit: PA

MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's opponents... Gillingham


TOUGH TEST AT GILLS

Ipswich Town head to Gillingham this weekend looking for a fourth straight win and a winning start for new boss Paul Cook. It's a 1pm kick-off.

Town are sixth in the current League One form standings (last six games), but their Kent opponents are not far behind in ninth, having won three of their last six, including an exciting 3-2 win over MK Dons in midweek.

Paul Cook is the new manager of Ipswich Town

Paul Cook's first game in charge for Town this weekend. - Credit: Pagepix

This will be a tough opening test for Cook's team. However, confidence should be sky-high after wins over Hull, Doncaster and Accrington Stanley - two of them on the road.

Town are currently seventh, Gillingham 14th.

Town players celebrate Teddy Bishops goal in the 1-0 victory over Gillingham.
Picture: Steve Wal

Town players celebrate Teddy Bishops goal in the 1-0 victory over Gillingham. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

LAST TIME THEY MET

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Teddy Bishop's late strike settled issues between these two sides at Portman Road back in October as Ipswich moved up to third with a 1-0 win over the Gills.

At the time, it left Gillingham boss Steve Evans - never a shrinking violet - incandescent with rage in the post-match interviews as his team slipped to 16th.

An early chance for Town.
Picture: Steve Waller
www.stephenwaller.com

An early chance for Town. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

“Privately they knew they had a battering,” said Evans that cold October evening on the Portman Road pitch after the game.

“The best team lost, by some distance. Second half it was one-way traffic. They were playing on counter attacks. They got a bit of help with some of the decisions. I am not questioning the integrity of the referee but it was a poor performance from him, it’s as bad as it gets."

Gillingham’s Jordan Graham during the Sky Bet League One match at Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham. P

Jordan Graham - twice on loan at Town - Credit: PA

LOAN RANGER JORDAN

Jordan Graham is currently heading the Gills' score charts, with eight league goals.

The Coventry-born 25-year-old had two loan spells with Ipswich - in 2013 and 2018/19.

He was on Wolves' books for six seasons, firstly on loan. And while at Molineux he was farmed out on loan most seasons, to Oxford, Fulham, Town and Gillingham, before Gills boss Steve Evans signed him on a permanent deal last August.

He has England U16 and U17 caps, as well as having played for the Republic of Ireland U15s.  He is currently enjoyed one of his most productive scoring spells.

Rotherham manager Steve Evans

Steve Evans, when Rotherham boss. He's wearing a sombrero, shorts and sandals to the fixture against Leeds United at Elland Road on the final day of the season in celebration of keeping the Millers up in 2015! - Credit: PA

THE GAFFER

Steve Evans, the Gillingham boss, is a larger than life character.

Born in Glasgow, he speaks his mind and has courted controversy in the past - away from the football field.

However, on the pitch, he hasn't done badly, leading Rotherham to two successive promotions from League Two and One into the Championship.

And he kept the Millers there during that first season back in 2014/15, with a game to spare, infamously wearing a sombrero, shorts and sandals to the fixture against Leeds United at Elland Road on the final day of the season in celebration!

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His biggest managerial appointment came at Leeds, where he joined the Championship club in 2015, replacing Uwe Rösler. He took charge of a Leeds side one point off the relegation zone, however, he managed to guide them to a 13th-place finish. 

But just seven months later Evans, along with his assistant Paul Raynor, was sacked by owner Massimo Cellino - the sixth manager sacked by Cellino in two years!

Gillingham's Kyle Dempsey (centre) celebrates their third goal of the game with teammates during the

Gillingham's Kyle Dempsey (centre) celebrates their third goal of the game with team-mates during the Sky Bet League One match at The Valley, in February, as the Gills beat Charlton. They certainly score goals! - Credit: PA

GOALS, GOALS, GOALS

Gillingham games certainly don't lack entertainment.

They've scored 42 and conceded 44, an aggregate of 86 goals for and against in their League One games.

Few teams can match that - Ipswich for example have a goal aggregate so far this season of 64, that's 35 for and 29 against!

DID YOU KNOW?

Gillingham first claimed their Football League status back in 1920 but 17 years later they were voted out of the picture, with Ipswich Town replacing them!

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