Pompey’s set-piece expert seeking more success

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Gareth Evans demonstrated his set-piece credentials last season. 

Now Pompey’s midfielder is aiming to crank up the dead-ball assists having established himself as Kenny Jackett’s go-to man.

Gareth Evans in action against the Hawks.

Gareth Evans in action against the Hawks.

At times last season, the Blues boss struggled to identify his most effective set-piece takers, particularly during periods when Evans was out of the team.

Eventually he settled for Evans, who ended the campaign by delivering the left-wing corner headed home by Brett Pitman in the final match against Peterborough.

The long-serving midfielder also contributed in the opening pre-season friendly at Cork City.

On that occasion, his right-wing corner was headed home by Christian Burgess.

And Evans is striving for more of the same success in the forthcoming campaign.

He said: ‘I managed to set up a few goals from set-pieces last season and I’m definitely looking to do that more this time around.

’The gaffer has made it known that he wants us to score more goals from set-pieces, so I’ll be working on my delivery and I’m sure the gaffer will have the rest of the lads trying to improve on finishing.

‘Set-pieces became quite a big part of my game last season, putting the ball in was important.

‘We ended up scoring a fair few goals after Christmas from set-pieces, but it still probably was not enough and is something to work on.

‘We’ve seen in training that Lee Brown can also take set-pieces. Having a really sweet left foot, it gives us another option.

‘He can deliver in-swingers from the right-hand side and I can deliver in-swingers from the left-hand side or vice-versa, it gives us another option, you can see what he can do.

‘Christian (Burgess) scoring from a corner against Cork was a good start, and he’s told me he wants more goals this season.

‘The best opportunity for him to do that is from set-pieces, so I’ll be improving my delivery as much as I can – and I’m sure he’ll be improving his runs and finishing as well.’

Following last term’s finish of eighth, Evans is looking a little higher up the table.

And he believes it can be achieved.

He added: ‘I’m expecting an improvement, I’m sure everyone is. It was not a bad finish in the first season back at League One, albeit not what we wanted.

‘We wanted to finish in the play-offs, we thought we were good enough to finish in the play-offs. Hopefully we can do that this season.’