GILLINGHAM boss Steve Evans has taken aim at the Football League ahead of facing a very different Wanderers side. 

The Whites’ trip to the Priestfield Stadium tomorrow will be the first of a new era for the club after the Football Ventures consortium completed their protracted takeover on Wednesday night.

With first Phil Parkinson and then caretaker boss Jimmy Phillips being forced to largely rely on the youth team to get through the opening weeks of the season, Wanderers will now be able to sign players in the run-up the game in Kent.

The transfer window closes on Monday, with free agents, likely to be the main focus of Bolton’s attentions, able to be signed at any point.

Evans, a former Wanderers youth-team player, is pleased to see the club back on its feet after months of uncertainty about its long-term future but is the latest manager to call the integrity of League One into question.

Not only have the battling junior Whites shipped five goals against both Tranmere and Ipswich having started the campaign on minus 12 points, another deduction seems likely after failing to fulfil fixtures against Brentford and Doncaster.

Near neighbours Bury were expelled from the league on Tuesday night having failed to satisfy the EFL of their financial future, leaving the third tier with 23 teams for the remainder of the season. “It’s not right in whatever shape or form,” Evans told Kent Online.

“It shouldn’t have got to this stage and the EFL have a lot to answer for.

“They can hide behind the corridors but it should never have come to this.

“Six or seven managers have gone on record saying ‘where is the integrity of League One?’ and I haven’t seen the Football League challenge those managers, which probably tells you those managers would win the case because there is an integrity issue isn’t there?

“It’s a travesty that we are in 2019 and getting into these circumstances, but (Lincoln manager) Danny Cowley is one million per cent right (after expressing his frustration and annoyance of the EFL’s handling of the situation).

“The league has been undermined.

“If you have played Bolton in the first five games, it is not who we will probably face and going forward they will get stronger.”

Evans is readying his troops for a strong Wanderers side this weekend, believing the club has the pulling power to bring in good players, even at this stage of the season.

“They have a great catchment area and will be able to pull from a pool of players who would be keen to go to Bolton,” said the 56-year-old former Rotherham, Leeds and Peterborough boss.

“They have a beautiful stadium, with 12-14,000 fans and they will get a boost by the takeover going through.

“(Ipswich manager) Paul Lambert could have prepared for the under-18s but we can’t do that.

“It’s not a level playing field but we can’t moan about it, we can’t use it as an excuse, because you could have a full-strength Bolton from last year coming here.

“I played them last pre-season at Posh and they were very strong.”

In amongst all this are mixed emotions for Evans, who has a connection with Bolton dating back to his youth.

He was 15 when he was spotted by Whites scouts up in his native Glasgow, moving south of the border to join the club after leaving school. Evans failed to make a senior appearance for Wanderers, however, and was let go in 1979, heading back to Scotland to join Clyde before going on to play for Albion Rovers and St Johnstone among others.

“They are close to my heart,” Evans said.

“I started there as a kid but got let go and it broke my heart, but you still have a big affinity.

“Ian Greaves was the manager, he drove up to Glasgow and convinced me and my parents to go down there as a young 15-year-old but he is not in this world now.

“He was a great man and there are great people around that club.”

The Gills are 19th in the early table after two draws and two defeats.