Evans: I won’t be happy with Pompey consolidating

Gareth Evans celebrates with his Pompey team-mates. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans celebrates with his Pompey team-mates. Picture: Joe Pepler
Anton Walkes returned for Pompey at Swindon. Picture: Joe Pepler

Walkes’ second debut delights Pompey boss

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Gareth Evans balked at the suggestion consolidation in League One would be a successful season for Pompey and admitted: I won’t be happy if we don’t make the play-offs.

The 30-year-old netted the only goal of the game in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Walsall.

It was the Blues’ third successive win and kept their top-six ambitions alive.

They sit just two points outside the play-off places with seven games remaining this campaign.

Many supporters’ target at the start of the season was for Kenny Jackett’s troops to stabilise in League One, after spending four seasons in the Football League’s basement division.

However, Evans’ focus is firmly on trying to clinch back-to-back promotions with Pompey, after playing a key role in the team that landed League Two title last term.

And with the Blues still to face play-off rivals Plymouth, Charlton and Peterborough, the midfielder believes his side’s fate is in their own hands.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t say it’s a good season if we don’t make the play-offs.

‘I won’t be happy if we don’t.

‘I know a lot of fans might have a different perspective but you don’t look back at the end of your career and say “I remember that season when we consolidated in League One”.

‘You remember the play-offs and the silverware.

‘From a personal point of view you want to finish as high in the league as you can,

‘I’ve got found memories here down here already and want to add to them.

‘Making the play-offs is almost in our own hands.

‘I’ve not properly looked at the fixtures but if we win the rest of our games then we’ll finish in there.

‘But we’ve got to take things game by game and see where we end up.’

Evans netted his third goal of the campaign at the Bescot Stadium.

On 79 minutes, the former Fleetwood Town man latched onto Jamal Lowe’s pass and unleashed an angled right-footed shot from the edge of the box that beat home keeper Liam Roberts.

Beforehand, Pompey had missed numerous chances,.

Brett Pitman, Ben Close, Kal Naismith and Jack Whatmough were all unable to make the most of decent opportunities.

Evans revealed he just wanted to make good contact with his effort that delivered the Blues three points against Walsall.

He added: ‘We were putting ball after ball into the box.

‘The game plan was to get the ball wide and get it into the box – that’s how we felt we were going to beat Walsall.

‘We were missing gilt-edged chances, particularly in the first half, but luckily we ended up scoring at a vital time and then held on.

‘The ball came to me and I just kept my head down and tried to hit it well and see what happens.

‘It flew into the bottom corner so it was happy days for us.’