Pompey: Silkmen clash appeals to old boy

Gareth Evans in action for Macclesfield Town against Everton in the FA Cup in 2009
Gareth Evans in action for Macclesfield Town against Everton in the FA Cup in 2009
Former Pompey striker Luke Nightingale

Hometown favourite set for Pompey return

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A FIRST-ROUND tie with Macclesfield may not contain the FA Cup glamour Pompey have enjoyed in their recent history.

But try telling that to Gareth Evans.

They are two years I look back on fondly

Gareth Evans

The Blues attacker prepares to go up against his hometown club and the outfit who gave him his break in the game tomorrow.

And that prospect has had him counting down the days to the clash after the sides were paired in last week’s draw.

It will be a meeting which will spark a host of memories for Evans, with the Silkmen giving him his break in the pro game.

Evans said: ‘I was released by Crewe and didn’t get a professional contract at the end of my scholarship.

‘Macclesfield gave me my first opportunity to play professional football.

‘Ian Brightwell was the manager and he gave me my first two years of professional football – two years I really loved.

‘They were in League Two and they were relegation battles but we survived both of them.

‘They are two years I look back on fondly.’

Macclesfield are sat in a mid-table position in the Vanarama National League table ahead of the trip to Fratton Park.

Two defeats have arrived after three wins on the bounce – a run indicative of their season.

With Evans friends with manager John Askey, it is form he continues to monitor.

He said: ‘I still look out for their results now and I’m quite friendly with John.

‘He went to my sister’s wedding because his wife’s good friends with my sister. So there’s quite a strong connection there.

‘I always look to see if they’re doing well – and they are doing well.

‘My mum and dad are from Macclesfield so they’re my hometown club.

‘That’s another reason to look out for them.

‘I was really chuffed when I found out about the game.

‘I wasn’t aware until my sister texted me and said “you’ve got Macc in the Cup”.

‘I was really chuffed and I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good game.’

Tomorrow’s clash will mark the first between the two sides as Pompey look to end their FA Cup hoodoo at the eighth time of asking.

Evans has faced his former side, however, since departing from the Moss Rose Ground in 2009.

The 27-year-old knows the game will mark a big occasion for his old club as they arrive at Fratton Park with ambitions of causing an upset.

Evans believes the match will also provide Macclesfield’s coffers with a much-needed shot in the arm.

He said: ‘I’ve been back there a couple of times with Rotherham and Bradford.

‘I don’t think Portsmouth have played them before.

‘It’s a good tie for us. It’s a club I look out for.

‘I still have a lot of friends there working behind the scenes, so I’m pleased.

‘It’s a good tie but it will be a tough game without a shadow of a doubt.

‘Hopefully it will generate a bit of revenue for them because they will need it. It will give them a boost.’