Evans: It was a gamble – but I love it at Pompey

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Gareth Evans is preparing to toast three years at Fratton Park.

And the popular midfielder is still revelling in a Pompey career which kicked off as a triallist.

Gareth Evans on trial for Pompey in 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gareth Evans on trial for Pompey in 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett’s side face the Hawks on Saturday  – the same opposition which provided the Fratton faithful with their first glimpse of Evans in July 2015.

Having sufficiently impressed during Paul Cook’s maiden pre-season to earn a deal, the former Manchester United trainee has gone on to amass 130 appearances and net 19 times.

Not a bad decision from Evans, whose gamble to turn down a two-year contract offer at Fleetwood in favour of a fresh challenge in the summer of 2015 has paid dividends.

He said: ‘I read in The News the other day that the team sheet for that first friendly called me Wayne Evans.

‘I had no idea, it’s a bit of a strange one, I’m not too sure who wrote that sheet out!

‘Fleetwood had offered me a new two-year deal and it got to the start of pre-season. I turned round to my girlfriend and told her I didn’t want to go back, I wanted to try something different.

‘I had not really been on the look-out for a new club that summer, but then decided I’d done my time there.

‘Paul Cook got in touch and said “We’ll see what your fitness is like and if you are in good shape after two or three days then we’ll give you a contract”. So it didn't really seem like a trial.

‘Although six weeks later there was still no contract!

‘I was waiting and still hadn’t been paid so was flapping a little bit – and ended up signing a 12-month deal.

‘I enjoyed it at Fleetwood and had quite a successful time, with a promotion and finishing tenth in League One.

‘It was worth coming to Pompey for that trial, I could have ended up staying at Fleetwood and not being as happy as I am. We love living down here and I love playing for the club.’

No current Pompey player has made more appearances than Evans, who is entering his fourth season at the club.

But he admits turning down that Highbury Stadium contract  was a leap of faith.

He added: ‘It was a bit of a strange decision, I don't  really know what was going through my head at the time!

‘But it paid off. You must have confidence in your ability and  prove yourself.’