Gillingham v Peterborough United preview: Will
Evans come back to haunt his past employers?
Steve Evans will be hoping that it's a happy return to his old club Peterborough
Nathan Stirk - Getty Images

With the October International break having come and gone, the full focus returns to league football. With teams vying to cement their position in the table, in order to build on a successful campaign.

For EFL League One side Gillingham, the aim of success will be maintaining their third tier status for the seventh straight season.

The only side that can currently match Gillingham's record of successive seasons in this division is Saturday's opponents Peterborough United. Who will hoping it's seventh time lucky in making it into the Championship.

Story behind the game

Gills boss Steve Evans will be hoping that he can claim all three points against the side he left back in January, having been in charge of the Posh for less than a year. The home side go into the game having won just one of their last five league matches, with their most recent result being a goalless draw with stuttering Portsmouth. Meanwhile Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson is hoping to guide his team into the automatic promotion places this weekend. They are currently sat in third, having beaten newly promoted Lincoln City 2-0 last time out, but have failed to win any of their last three away league games. Which is something that they will be desperate to change.

These opponents have been in the same league as one another since 2013, facing off 12 times in the process. Both have come out on top on four occasions apiece, with there also being four draws. However, Peterborough took all six points from their opponents last term, winning by an aggregate of 6-2. Furthermore, Gillingham have failed to win any of their last three home ties against the Posh, so will be hoping for different this time around.

The away side clearly go into this clash as favourites, however Evans has the experience necessary to potentially steal the win and dent his old sides promotion hopes.

Team news

Evans has told the club's journalists that defender Barry Fuller has a chance to play. And that Manchester United loanee Matty Willock is getting closer to a return to full fitness.

Meanwhile Ferguson expects to be able to name a full strength squad this weekend. As striker Nathan Thompson has recovered from a recent injury, although he is not certain to feature as he is integrated back into the team.

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Predicted Line-up

Gillingham:

(4-3-3) Bonham, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O'Connor, Jones, Bryne, O'Keefe, Jakubiak, Ndjoli, Hanlan.

Peterborough United:

(4-1-2-1-2) Pym, Mason, Kent, Beevers, Blake-Tracy, Woodyard, Knight, Boyd, Maddison, Toney, Eisa.

Key Clashes

Connor Ogilvie v Ivan Toney

Gillingham put in a stellar performance last weekend to keep out Portsmouth and their wealth of fire-power. And a lot of that was down to the defensive work of centre-back Connor Ogilvie, who received high praise from fans. However, he will have his work cut out to keep English footballs top scorer at bay. Ivan Toney scored his tenth goal of the season last weekend, and the former Newcastle United man will be looking to add to that tally on Saturday.

Alex Jakubiak v Frazer Blake-Tracy

In terms of goal-scoring threat, Gillingham haven't thrived like their opponents. However, their front three all have at least three goals each this season, with Alex Jakubiak leading the way with four. He will come up against Peterborough left-back Frazer Blake-Tracy, who managed to keep Lincoln's dangerous wideman Bruno Andrade quiet last weekend. Jakubiak poses more of a goal threat, so this will be a different test for the summer signing.

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What the managers have said

Gillingham manager Steve Evans has highlighted the quality of his former side, telling the club's website that they hold a special place for him. He said:

“I was very fortunate to manage Peterborough. They have wonderful players. Maddison and Toney are possibly the best two players outside the Championship.”

“Peterborough is my home city, so when I retire I will be watching them!”

“They have brilliant supporters and they care about their club, but my job is to find a plan to beat them.”

In the other dugout, Darren Ferguson spoke to the club's media, believing that away form is an issue that needs to be dealt with, following recent performances. He said:

“They've not been up to the standard we all expect. The Wycombe one for an hour was very good, but then the last half an hour wasn't good enough.”

“We've only picked up two points out of our last three away games, so that's not going to be enough.”

“We need to improve, and we're always looking for areas to improve in. And I think we're due an away win.”

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