Evans: Pompey sights firmly on play-offs

Gareth Evans revealed Pompey are aiming to emulate last season's end to the campaign to reach the League One play-offs.

Saturday, 27th January 2018, 6:00 am
Pompey wideman Gareth Evans Picture: Joe Pepler

And the club’s vice captain believes the Blues’ favourable fixture list can help his side achieve their top-six ambitions.

Kenny Jackett’s outfit sit ninth in the table ahead of Shrewsbury’s visit to Fratton Park today (3pm).

Hitting a winning streak will be crucial if they are to finish in the play-offs.

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Having been a key figure in Pompey’s League Two title-winning side, Evans sees parallels to last term.

Despite being seventh after defeat to Wycombe on February 4, Paul Cook’s Blues won 13 of their final 18 games and clinched the silverware on the last day of the campaign.

Evans reckons Pompey can hit a similar rich vein of form in the business end of this season.

The wideman said: ‘I think we can pick up some momentum.

‘We found last year what we can do – although I don’t think that is ever going to be replicated and I don’t want to get the fans’ hopes up.

‘But the way last season went with the run-in, we’re looking to do a similar sort of thing and really pick up momentum.

‘In the two years I’ve been at Portsmouth, I’ve found the final 10-15 games at home have been really enjoyable to play in.

‘The crowd really gets behind you and I’m sure that is going to be the case again this season.’

The Blues will aim to do something they’ve been unable to achieve this season against Shrewsbury – defeat an opponent in the top six.

To date, Jackett’s outfit have collected just two points from a possible 24 against the sides who are in the promotion places.

Nevertheless, the Blues have made Fratton Park a fortress this term.

They’ve not lost on their own patch since the defeat to Bradford on October 28.

With high-flying Shrewsbury, leaders Wigan and second-placed Blackburn still to visit PO4, Evans feels home advantage could prove pivotal for Pompey to change their fortunes against the division’s top six.

He added: ‘I had a look at the fixtures at the turn of the year.

‘I noticed everyone was going on about our form against the top six.

‘However, we’ve played the majority of the teams who are in the top six and eight away from home.

‘We’ve got those teams to play at Fratton Park and I think that could make a difference.

‘It’s difficult for teams to play at Fratton Park with the atmosphere and our form, so hopefully we can change the statistics against the top six.

‘We can take heart from the performances, although we haven’t got the results.

‘The way we have played against some of the top six is something we can take into the home games and pick up more points.’