Evans confident over Pompey player stay

Gareth Evans, left, and Jack Whatmough, right. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans, left, and Jack Whatmough, right. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey beat Charlton to help get back on track and must continue to push on. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett: There can be no slacking from Pompey’s players

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Gareth Evans is convinced Pompey’s out-of-contract stars will stay put.

And the versatile talent believes that will cement a growing tight-knit bond between Paul Cook’s squad.

Jack Whatmough is among those men Evans is certain will soon commit their futures to the Blues.

The 29-year-old last week became the latest player to sign up for Pompey’s League One mission as he agreed a new two-year deal.

That follows Kyle Bennett in committing his future to the Blues’ cause.

There are still a number of players who have still to agree terms, however.

Of the squad members who were out of contract this summer, Stanley Aborah, Ben Close, Brandon Haunstrup, Amine Linganzi, Noel Hunt, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Whatmough have yet to sign.

They remain after back-up keeper, Liam O’Brien, joined Enda Stevens and Michael Doyle in moving away from Fratton Park.

Evans, though, is confident the majority of Pompey players will be staying put.

That’s after he recently returned from an end-of-season team celebration in Marbella.

Evans feels the continuity will allow his side to aim high next season.

He said: ‘I’ve just been away with a lot of the lads and they are keen to stay at this football club.

‘It’s just a case of getting things tied down.

‘If we can keep the majority here there’s no reason we can’t kick on next season.

‘Hopefully there’s more to come after me because the ability is there.

‘I really feel the squad has become more closely knit.

‘If I’m honest, it feels that the group has really come together more over the past two or three months.

‘That’s been seen in the spirit. We’re a good group who all really get on well together.

‘So I’d like to see the majority stay together – and I believe that’s going to be the case.’

News of Bennett signing preceded confirmation of Evans staying by a couple of days last week.

The 26-year-old sealed a three-year deal to ensure concerns of a wholesale squad break-up was unfounded after Stevens and captain Doyle left the League Two champions.

Evans viewed nailing down Bennett’s future as a statement of intent from Pompey.

He said: ‘I was delighted to see Benno sign.

‘Obviously it’s disappointing to lose players of the calibre of Enda and Doyler, though.

‘I’ve played with Benno for the past couple of years.

‘We have clicked really well and we get on well.

‘Hopefully there’s more to come and we will keep the nucleus together.

‘The fact myself and Benno have signed now will lead into there being a few more.

‘I’ve no doubt if we keep the majority of players there’s no reason why we won’t kick on and enjoy more success.’