Cook forecasting August return for Pompey midfielder

PAUL COOK has pencilled in an August injury return for Gareth Evans.

Thursday, 30th June 2016, 6:00 am
Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

The midfielder is sidelined with medial collateral damage in his left knee and torn medial ligaments in his left ankle.

They are the result of Carl McHugh’s first-half challenge in the play-off semi-final second-leg defeat at Plymouth.

It means Evans is likely to miss the vast majority of the pre-season programme, reducing him to playing catch-up in terms of fitness.

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The ongoing absence of one of last season’s key performers is a blow to Cook.

The former Fleetwood player netted 10 goals in 47 appearances during a maiden campaign at Fratton Park.

And Pompey’s boss is seeking to welcome him back around the League Two kick-off against Carlisle on August 6.

Cook said: ‘With Gareth we are looking at the start of the season before he comes back from injury.

‘It was a poor injury and he is a great lad – by the time he comes back that will be like a new signing for us.

‘Gareth was an integral part of what we did last season. We know we fell a bit short, although people will always speak about us being a good passing team when we play well.

‘Gareth is a different type to other attacking players at the club.

‘He has an edge to him, has a bit of an appetite, is a scorer, breaks lines and a strong runner who can also play.

‘We are looking forward to having him back.’

Only Marc McNulty (12) and Conor Chaplin (11) scored more goals than Evans last season.

During the campaign he earned a 12-month extension, triggered by a certain number of appearances, to tie him to Pompey until the summer of 2017.