Jackett: Evans can get back into Pompey side

Gareth Evans watched the win over Wimbledon from the stands at Kingsmeadow Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans watched the win over Wimbledon from the stands at Kingsmeadow Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett believes Gareth Evans can fight his way back into Pompey’s starting XI.

The vice captain had served a suspension to declare himself available for last weekend’s trip to AFC Wimbledon.

Gareth is too good a professional and too good a player not to bounce back

Kenny Jackett

However, he surprisingly failed to make the Blues’ 18-man squad.

Instead, the versatile performer watched his side’s 2-0 victory from the visitors’ directors’ box at Kingsmeadow.

It represented the first time Evans has not been included in a Pompey squad when available.

He will be now hoping to be included when the Blues face Northampton tonight (7.45pm).

And Jackett is convinced Evans still has a role to play.

He said: ‘Gareth must get past either Nathan Thompson or Jamal Lowe to get back into the side.

‘He is open minded to playing right-back or right midfield and on Saturday in the wide areas I went for Jamal Lowe and Matty Kennedy and then put Kyle Bennett on.

‘Nathan (Thompson) played well at right-back, he also played well when he came on at Rotherham the previous week.

‘Him, Damien McCrory and Stuart O’Keefe have given us experience in the division and you can see that in their performance at Wimbledon.

‘Gareth can battle back in both positions and I am sure his time will come again.

‘He is too good a professional and too good a player not to bounce back.’

At present, Thompson is the preference at right-back, with Drew Talbot on the bench at Wimbledon following injury.

And Jackett has been impressed with the summer recruit from Swindon.

He added: ‘Thompson was selected perhaps on defensive ability, maybe on Gareth’s performance against Wigan.

‘We had been looking for him to come back anyway. He is a defender, definitely, but is a variable player and can play different roles.

‘We have deliberately made sure we have given him time to get over his injuries, he’s had a 45 minutes and now 90 minutes.

‘He brings a lot of experience and good defending to the team – and that’s why we signed him.

‘Is there a time where you change things and get a full-back who is flying down the wing unopposed? It depends on the standard of the opposition, the formation of the opposition.

‘It’s something I wouldn’t hesitate to do if I needed to do it.’