Portsmouth benefiting from Gallen’s Evans call

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Joe Gallen has revealed his part in Gareth Evans' Pompey positional switch.

The former Bradford City man got the winner against his old club on Saturday as the Blues went three points clear at the top of League One – taking his goal tally for the season to five.

Pompey skipper Gareth Evans Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey skipper Gareth Evans Picture: Joe Pepler

The 30-year-old has now moved to within a goal of much-talked about attacking duo Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis (both on six) in the club's scoring charts this term.

Evans has been employed as a central attacking midfielder for most of the campaign, with Kenny Jackett's team reaping the rewards.

But that has not always been the ex-Manchester United youth player's position at the club.

During Pompey's march to the League Two title in 2016-17 under Paul Cook, Evans was deployed as a right-back.

He’s also served with distinction on the right wing during his time at Fratton Park.

But Gallen revealed how he swiftly thought Evans could play a crucial role in a central attacking position when he and Jackett arrived in the summer of 2017.

The Blues assistant manager said: 'When we first came to the club, Gareth was playing right-back.

'I made a statement, which a lot of people laughed at, saying I think he's a centre-forward.

'I think everyone thought I was joking.

'But when I was watching Gareth in training, I couldn't quite see a defender. I saw an attacker playing.

'I think a lot of people did laugh at me but, low and behold, he's basically playing in a forward position.

'It's not a surprise to me, I'll be honest, about his finishing.

'Gareth has a knack of keeping the ball low and with power.

'He's just a very naturally-good finisher and also senses the moment when there could be an opportunity, just like a classic centre-forward.

'When he was playing right-back I was a bit confused.'

Evans found the net 11 times in 47 appearances for Bradford in the 2009-10 season and spent much of his earlier career as an attacker.

Yet former Blues boss Cook saw defensive capabilities from Evans and decided to use him as an attacking full-back – a move Gallen believes has helped develop his game further.

'His running and closing down in that position is also great,' added Gallen.

‘We do need him to win second balls because he is playing a midfielder's role.

'That requires some defending, some closing down, winning second balls and being part of the passing to getting us up the pitch. 

'He's also someone who can come up with some goals and is playing the position really well.

'He's having a strong season so far. He's captain and a fantastic bloke.'