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Evans' side will provide a test: Coley

Gillingham next at the Wham Stadium

25 October 2019

John Coleman is looking forward to locking horns with Steve Evans again when Gillingham visit the Wham Stadium tomorrow.

Coleman and Evans have been in opposite dug-outs many times over the years and the former Crawley, Rotherham, Leeds and Rotherham boss, among others, is now in charge of the Gills.

They are one point above the Reds in 17th place but Coleman is hoping to build on the last home game, the victory over then leaders Ipswich.

“I have encountered Steve many times over the years and he has a great record in league football, he has always done well wherever he has gone,” said Coleman.

“I am expecting a tough game but, on the flip side, he will be expecting a tough game from us.

“Like any team in this league, they can be a threat but we will need to build on our home performances. We have been very good at home this season even if we haven’t got the results our performances have merited.”

Fulham loan full-back Jerome Opoku returns after his one-match ban for five bookings but it’s too soon for Joe Maguire, who got hit in the head with a fierce strike during Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss at Peterborough and was stretchered off.

Meanwhile defender Ross Sykes will sit out the second game of his three-match ban for his red card in the 2-0 win over Ipswich last Sunday.

Stanley will give fitness tests to Zaine Francis-Angol, who came off injured at Posh, while striker Colby Bishop is ‘also nursing a bang.’

“We lost four defenders in a matter of days with Ross and Jerome and then Zaine and Joe but that’s why we have a squad. It gives other players an opportunity.

“Joe will be stood down for at least a week with concussion as he did take a severe knock to the head. His safety is paramount.

“Colby is nursing a bang, as is Ozzy (Zanzala), Sadou Diallo got injured in training so preparations haven’t been ideal, especially with getting home in the early hours of Thursday morning, but we will do the best we can.”

Swansea loan striker Courtney Baker-Richardson is back in training with the Reds after returning to the Liberty Stadium in August for treatment to his groin and quad.

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