Gareth Evans’ history talk inspiring Portsmouth’s newest promotion challengers

Promotion old hand Gareth Evans has been spreading the word about Pompey’s 2017 fairy-tale ending.

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 4:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th April 2019, 5:02 pm
Gareth Evans celebrates with Conor Chaplin and Gary Roberts after clinching the League Two title at Fratton Park in May 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South
Gareth Evans celebrates with Conor Chaplin and Gary Roberts after clinching the League Two title at Fratton Park in May 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

And he’s hopeful his captive dressing-room audience can grasp inspiration from their predecessors to again emulate such an achievement.

A run of four-successive League One victories has reignited the Blues’ push for an automatic promotion spot.

Presently they are three points behind second-placed Sunderland, a side they travel to on April 27.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In the meantime, with six matches remaining, they face struggling Rochdale on Saturday.

Evans, along with Matt Clarke, Christian Burgess and Jamal Lowe, are the sole survivors from Paul Cook’s team which won 10 of their final 12 matches to claim the 2016-17 League Two title.

And this week he has been educating his playing colleagues on how that remarkable feat occurred.

He said: ‘We’ve spoken about it the last few days, I’ve told a few of the lads about the last time it happened, there’s not many of us left now.

‘I just said we were in a similar position this time two years ago – and with a football club like this, the fans get behind you.

‘They were genuinely interested, they weren't really aware of the circumstances. All they know is we won League Two, not how it happened.

‘Me, Clarkie, Burge, Jamal and a few others have all been there, so we’ve told the lads that you never know, promotion can happen.

‘There is a little bit of comparison between the ends of each season. I think the Charlton game was similar to the time we played against Crewe at home – it was a turning point.

‘We have won four on the bounce so obviously there’s going to be similarities drawn between the two run-ins, we’ll have to see if we can do as well as we did last time.

‘We showed it was possible two years ago, maybe we can do it again.’

Following that 2-1 loss at The Valley, the Blues have won five-consecutive games in all competitions.

But Evans is unable to pinpoint the reason behind such a remarkable upturn.

He added: ‘Charlton was a below-par performance, which happens every now and then.

‘Nothing out of the ordinary was said afterwards, we just knew we had to play better than we did against them.

‘We’ve had a bit of an upturn in form – and must win on Saturday to continue that.’