GARETH EVANS is two weeks ahead of schedule in his battle to recover from a double injury.
And the goal-scoring midfielder is expected to return to full Pompey training in a fortnight.
Carl McHugh’s awful tackle left Evans with medial collateral damage in his left knee and torn medial ligaments in his left ankle.
Inflicted in the Blues’ play-off semi-final elimination at Home Park, he was expected to miss the start of the forthcoming season.
However, the 28-year-old has surprised Pompey’s medical team by healing quicker than anticipated.
Evans has already returned to training outside, although not with his team-mates.
He could now be back in action before the month is out – with Pompey pre-season friendlies remaining.
Evans’ long-time target during a summer on the sidelines has been the League Two opener against Carlisle on August 6.
At this stage it appears he will stage his comeback at least a week before as he fights hard from his awful injuries.
Another casualty closing in on a return is promising right-back Calvin Davies.
He has been out of action since damaging his ankle while on loan at Bognor in March.
The 18-year-old is expected to return to full training next week and could be in the frame to feature in the Blues’ final three friendlies, starting from the visit of Bournemouth on July 23.
Pompey are still assessing the fitness of Tom Davies, Michael Smith and Ben Close ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Sutton United (3pm).
Kyle Bennett and Adam May also sat out Wednesday night’s 5-0 victory over the Hawks as a precaution.
– NEIL ALLEN