Gillingham claimed a point at the Stadium of Light and Steve Evans has admitted that he wanted Kyle Laffety during his spell at Leeds United.

Kyle Lafferty scored his first two Sunderland goals in Saturday’s draw with Gillingham, and visiting boss Steve Evans was left hailing a striker he tried and failed to sign for Leeds United years ago, according to Kent Online.

With Charlie Wyke unavailable due to injury, an experienced Northern Ireland international made his first start for the Black Cats this weekend.

And it is fair to say Lafferty, after nine barren appearances off the bench, grabbed a rare chance with both hands when the Gills came to town. The former Rangers and Hearts star powered home a pinpoint Denver Hume cross before slotting home a second with supreme confidence in the second half.

Gillingham fought back to claim a point however, thanks to a 95th-minute scorcher from Mikael Mandron – yes, that Mikael Mandron, the one Sunderland released in 2016.

And, speaking after the game, Evans paid tribute to a reborn Lafferty even if his second goal might have had an element of fortune about it.

“I love Kyle Lafferty to bits and I tried to take him to Leeds United,” said the outspoken coach. “But he was offside, simple as that, he is a yard off.”

The BBC reported in January 2016 that Leeds, then under Evans’ control, had held talks with Norwich City about signing a striker who could not buy a game at Carrow Road.

The deal failed to materialise, however, and the former Rotherham boss was sacked just four months later after less than a season in West Yorkshire.

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