FOR Kenny Jackett the search is over – he has uncovered his set-piece supremo.
The Blues boss has been striving to identify a consistent and effective dead-ball provider since arriving at Fratton Park.
Set-pieces can be crucial and something I don’t think we have always been proficient atKenny Jackett
Now he has Gareth Evans.
The process involved trial and error, running through a number of alternatives, particularly when Evans was out of the side.
However, the Blues midfielder has now weighed in with match-winning assists in each of the last two matches.
With victories over Charlton and Bury settled by one goal, Evans’ contribution has been decisive.
There was a free-kick from the right turned past his own keeper by Josh Magennis at The Valley.
Then, on Saturday, Evans’ left-wing corner was headed home by the unmarked Matt Clarke against the Shakers.
It had been an aspect of Pompey’s make-up that Jackett was determined to rectify.
And with Kal Naismith and Dion Donohue also impressing before injury, the Blues boss is convinced he has discovered the solution
He said: ‘Set-pieces can be crucial and something I don’t think we have always been proficient at.
‘We need to be consistent and make sure that in tight matches, which many of them are, we are the ones who win the game within the game, which is the set-piece.
‘Gareth has very good delivery and I do feel Naismith has also been very good. Those two have probably given us the most consistency.
‘Donohue had a spell as well from the right-hand side, curling them in with his left foot when in the team.
‘Naismith has recently been out through injury, but they have been the regular set-piece takers lately.’
Having found himself out of the side earlier in the campaign, Evans has started the last eight matches.
And four of those have come in his favoured midfield role – producing two assists and a goal.
Jackett added: ‘We want to keep Brett’s scoring going, but where else do our goals come from?
‘Can we spread them around? Can we look at different areas – such as set-pieces?
‘We got the winner at Charlton with a very good delivery from Gareth, who forced a mistake from a Charlton player and it got us the goal to edge a tight game.
‘Then he did the same from the corner against Bury, which Matt scored with.’