Gillingham boss Steve Evans hails 'wonderful' Portsmouth ahead of intriguing Priestfield fixture

Steve Evans described Pompey as a ‘wonderful club’ but insisted his Gills side would be ready for any MK Dons backlash from Kenny Jackett & Co.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 3:45 pm

The Gills boss paid his New Year’s Day opponents at Priestfield the ultimate compliment as they too target a potential League One play-off place.

But the former Peterborough and Mansfield manager said he had no intention of sending any festive period cheer the Blues’ way ahead as the Fratton Park outfit look to bounce back from Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Stadium MK.

Pompey came crashing back down to earth following consecutive wins against then top-two Ipswich and Wycombe by coming unstuck against the Dons at the weekend.

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The defeat saw them slip to ninth the table, with many fans once again questioning their promotion credentials.

It also saw 11th-placed Gillingham close the gap on the Blues to two points after they continued their impressive home form with a 1-0 win against Rochdale.

The Kent side are unbeaten on their own turf since a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Rotherham on November 3.

In fact, they have won their past seven games at home.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans on his arrival at Fratton Park in October Picture: Graham Hunt

Gillingham are also unbeaten in their past six games in all competitions, ensuring a tough test awaits Pompey as they look to bounce back from that MK Dons defeat.

Evans has the greatest respect for the Blues and manager Kenny Jackett.

But he’s keen to continue the momentum he’s building at Priestfield – where a big crowd is expected for the visit of the Blues.

Evans told kentonline.co.uk following the win against Dale: ‘We can only focus now on recovering the boys and making sure that we do our preparation and our homework for Portsmouth.

‘I have enormous respect for a wonderful football club, they are one of the three giants in this league, along with Sunderland and Ipswich Town.

‘They are the three with the big budgets and the big crowds, and that will be another severe test for us.

‘They have had some unbelievable results.

‘Kenny Jackett is a wily old fox, he has a wonderful management team.

‘They will be ready for us, we will be ready for them, it will be a big crowd and we hope we do ourselves justice.’

Pompey last played Gillingham on October 12, with the Gills recording a goalless draw at Fratton Park.

The Blues last travelled to the Gills on December 26, 2018 – a visit that saw them return home with a 2-0 defeat.