Evans: Team spirit behind great Portsmouth start

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Gareth Evans has pinpointed Pompey’s team spirit as the driving force behind their unbeaten start.

The belligerent Blues’ 2-2 draw with Wycombe on Saturday marked nine league matches undefeated since the start of the League One campaign.

Gareth Evans Picture: Joe Pepler

Gareth Evans Picture: Joe Pepler

It is the fifth time in the club’s post-war history that such a feat has been achieved.

Now Rochdale await, as Kenny Jackett’s troops strive to close in on the Pompey record of 13 – established by the 1948-49 Division One title-winners.

The second-placed Blues have proven tough to beat, particularly in matches when they have performed below par.

And their skipper is convinced the strong Fratton Park spirit is continuing to inspire resilience.

Evans said: ‘We’ve got some good team spirit. We do a lot of stuff in our spare time together and probably take that on to the field. That helps.

‘We play golf, go for meals, have coffee, that sort of thing, so the team spirit is good.

‘The club brought in some good lads over the summer, which has helped and contributed towards that and I am sure it would be good for the rest of the season.

‘We’ve just got good players, the way the manager sets us up makes it difficult for teams to break us down and we’ve got the players in the attacking third to get goals and make chances.

‘I think that has been our recipe so far this season.

‘We are difficult to break down and have some really good centre-halves at the club, but it doesn’t just come from the centre-halves, it comes from everyone all over the pitch.

‘Everyone contributes towards the defensive part of the game.’

Evans and Christian Burgess were also members of Paul Cook’s 2015-16 side which went nine league games unbeaten at the season’s start.

That campaign ended in a League Two play-off semi-final defeat to Plymouth.

Currently, the Blues are second in League One – one point adrift of leaders Peterborough.

The division’s sole remaining undefeated side head to Spotland on Saturday seeking to build on such an encouraging opening.

And Evans is hopeful Jackett’s men can maintain the current run, which has established them as genuine promotion contenders.

He added: ‘We are looking to continue the unbeaten run.

‘Rochdale is not an easy place to go so, we will be seeking to go there, win the game and keep up the unbeaten record.’