Thompson admiration for Portsmouth right-back rival’s goal charge

Gareth Evans celebrates scoring against Scunthorpe at the weekend Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans celebrates scoring against Scunthorpe at the weekend Picture: Joe Pepler
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From right-back rival to Pompey’s joint-top scorer.

Nathan Thompson continues to marvel at the blossoming of the ever-versatile Gareth Evans during his Pompey career.

The former Swindon man arrived in the summer of 2017 to bolster a squad which had just won the League Two title.

The Blues’ first-choice right-back at the time – and Thompson’s rival as a consequence – was Evans.

With 46 appearances and six goals, the ex-triallist was a key component of Paul Cook’s triumphant team.

Now he’s revelling operating in a number 10 role, registering a seventh goal of the campaign to share the leading-scorer mantle with Jamal Lowe.

Thompson said: ‘When I first game here Gaz was right-back.

‘He soon moved into the number 10 position and at this moment in time is scoring regularly.

‘He gives us energy, is fantastic in front of goal and possesses a real coolness, which you need when getting into the penalty box. When pressing from the front like he does, he also gives us a huge momentum.

‘With his goal on Saturday, the first touch was fantastic, it killed the defender, and even when he gets into a position to loft it over the keeper, he took it extremely well.

‘But that doesn’t surprise me, he’s very cultured in that sense.

‘He’s moved about a bit and played in front of me on the right wing, but has really found his home in that number 10 position.

‘That’s credit to Gaz. We have the likes of Joe Mason, who can’t get into the team and that role probably suits him. It just shows the quality we have in this squad – and the job Gaz is doing.’

Evans has recovered from a nasty knock to his right knee which forced him off against Scunthorpe.

Having returned to training, he puts himself in the frame for tonight’s visit of Walsall.

Meanwhile, Thompson is seeking a winning return to Fratton Park following 36 days without a League One home fixture.

He added: ‘There’s a real momentum about the team, we turn up at any stadium at the moment and feel we can pick up three points.

‘We just have to make sure we do the same at home, make sure we have a fortress.

‘When you are at the top of the league, naturally it’s a massive game for opponents. Portsmouth is a huge club and it gives them that added impetus.

‘Walsall will be a tough test which we must rise to and continue.’