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Scally: It’s Not Looking Good For Boxing Day
Wednesday, 22nd Dec 2021 12:28

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has admitted “it’s not looking good for Boxing Day right now” due to the Covid situation at the Kent club.

The Gills’ home match with Crewe on Saturday was postponed as they were unable to fulfil the fixture due to a number of positive Covid tests within their squad. Six players are understood to have been isolating having contracted the virus, while the Gills additionally have several injuries.

Scally says that as it stands their numbers remain very depleted ahead of the game against the Blues, both on and off the field.

“Where’s the world with Covid? I just don’t know at this precise moment in time. We’ve got seven outfield players that are actually training plus both goalkeepers.” Scally told BBC Radio Kent.

“We’ve got six injured players who would otherwise be starting, we’ve got five players with Covid who are isolating and we’ve got one player and two members of staff who potentially have Covid, tested yesterday and are waiting for PCR tests.

“Apart from that, we have a number of staff, matchday staff, stewards, catering staff who have called off because they are either isolating of they don’t want to come and be in public places at this moment in time.

“You can’t play with seven players, that’s for sure. It is a real problem and we are all in a bit of a quandary in life at the moment, what to do, what not to do, what to do for the best, how to keep people safe.

“From a personal point of view, I feel a little bit uncomfortable asking fans to come into the stadium if they feel uncomfortable in doing so and I think a lot of people will be looking twice at that even if we were able to play.

“I will talk to the manager this morning to see if anything has changed and I will talk to the Football League, but my guess with the number of players injured and the Covid players, you can’t put them straight into a football match when he’s come out of a Covid situation.

“It’s not looking good for Boxing Day right now, but like I say, I will talk to the League later today.”

If the Boxing Day game goes ahead, it will be new manager Kieran McKenna' first match in charge. The Northern Irishman took the squad for training for the first time yesterday morning.

Town have confirmed that if the game does go ahead it will be available on iFollow Ipswich.

Coincidentally, former boss Paul Cook's first match as Town boss was also at Gillingham in March, the game ending 3-1 to the Gills.

Photo: Reuters

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MaySixth added 12:40 - Dec 22
Off then.

SchancheITFC added 12:46 - Dec 22
Course he wants it called off. Doesn’t mean they will be allowed to though

MaySixth added 12:53 - Dec 22
“You can’t play with seven players, that’s for sure"

Do you not have a squad, reserves?

dirtydingusmagee added 12:55 - Dec 22
the way things are going i can see this season going t#ts up like before with covid situation

Bobbychase added 13:02 - Dec 22
I think they are obliged to use Under-23s if they can. If he wants to play the game behind closed doors he has the power - Salford are doing that I think. But expect he wants the matchday revenue later in the season if they can get the game on.

Hope the league have a close eye on this, although not sure how this is policed.

billlm added 13:15 - Dec 22
Whenever the game is played we will win it,

DifferentGravy added 13:27 - Dec 22
We having a squad list of 42 players (inclusive of U23). I would imagine that most teams have a list of at least 30. I completely understand the need for health, safety and welfare at this time.....but do feel some clubs are using the Covid situation as an absolute excuse when they are unable to field a few of their better players through non related Covid injuries.

Clearly this game is going to be called off.

itfcserbia added 13:36 - Dec 22
We’ve got seven outfield players that are actually training plus both goalkeepers.
We’ve got six injured players
we’ve got five players with Covid who are isolating
we’ve got one player who potentially have Covid, tested yesterday

I count 19 players. Hard to imagine they don't have anyone else on their playing books. Hard to believe anything really with Evans involved.

buzbyblue added 13:43 - Dec 22
Sounds like he is more worried that the attendance will be low and they won't make any money out of it

oldegold added 13:45 - Dec 22
In the past a club would rely on its reserve players to fill the numbers...why should it not be still be like that ? A football injury is akin to a covid-related issue and when a player got injured, he would normally be replaced by a player from the reserves...

ringwoodblue added 13:50 - Dec 22
We all want our team to be playing football over the festive season but it’s not looking encouraging at the moment. If it is called off at least it gives McKenna a few more training days and familiarisation time with the squad.

TimmyH added 13:56 - Dec 22
Personally feel if the EFL wants to keep playing fixtures and not calling every other one off this will be the norm into the New Year, all squads will probably pick up varying numbers of covid cases. It will be pot luck on how much clubs squads or starting 11's will be effected and down to tight protocols with the players out of training and regular testing.

Beattiesballbag added 14:01 - Dec 22
“Apart from that, we have a number of staff, matchday staff, stewards, catering staff who have called off because they are either isolating of they don’t want to come and be in public places at this moment in time. ..........Back room staff don't want to work on Boxing day !

churchmans added 14:08 - Dec 22
Lame excuses!! Every team in this leauge have named a first team sqaud of 22 players + ger on with it!
Getting ridiculous now besides isolating is 7 days now! It was 10 at the time of that interview

hadleighboyblue added 14:13 - Dec 22
The situation is wide open to be abused .

Do they have to prove the number of covid cases , have their players had their vaccinations , surely clubs have squads of at least 30 players inc U23's on their books .

It sounds like they don't want to play because of the financial implications , to say staff don't want to come in is taking the p . You would hope the FA will keep an eye on things , but doubt they will .

Taricco_Fan added 15:40 - Dec 22
Pretty feeble stuff. They just don't want to play, but if they can field a team then they have to.

mathiemagic added 15:43 - Dec 22
Its funny how the teams making a fuss seem to have lots of injuries at the moment. Of course they want the games called off so that they can get their players fit again. COVID just gives them the excuse they need. Another boxing day without a game, football is the only thing that makes Christmas bearable.

JewellintheTown added 15:51 - Dec 22
I can think of a few of our players we can give them to make up their numbers!

Wacko added 16:03 - Dec 22
Hark now hear! The Ipswich sing, and Gillingham run away...

keiths123 added 16:09 - Dec 22
Just checked on the Gillingham website and their first team squad consists of 26 players so how come they can’t field a team !!

Bluroo added 16:09 - Dec 22
Tbh I think a postponement would suit us too. More time for KM to drill his ideas into the squad and freshen up and it would be good to start the 2nd half of the season without the game in hand for a number of teams above us so we can have a clearer picture.

dirtydingusmagee added 17:04 - Dec 22
probably fearing our new manager bounce !

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