Gareth Evans’ brilliant form thwarted Joe Mason’s Pompey loan plans.
That’s the verdict of Joe Gallen, as the Wolves player this week returned to the Premier League.
It was an inevitable Fratton Park exit for Mason, with just four appearances to his name – of which one arrived in League One.
The attacker also suffered a period laid low by injury during a frustrating south-coast stay which was initially met with rich anticipation.
According to Gallen, Mason had been earmarked for a number 10 role upon his August arrival, working in tandem with Oli Hawkins.
As it panned out, Gareth Evans stamped his authority on that position, becoming an automatic choice and netting nine times.
And Mason was instead forced to watch from the sidelines during his scheduled half-a-season loan.
Pompey’s assistant manager said: ‘We took Joe with a view that he could come in, get into the team and play well, adding another option. But it just hasn’t worked out
‘We thought we would put him in the number 10 role, but with Gareth playing it a bit more like a midfielder that has really helped us.
‘Gareth has the ability to be in midfield at the right moment and then on the penalty spot at the right moment.
‘Joe is a centre-forward and if we had put him there he probably wouldn’t have been in midfield, but would have got on the penalty spot.
‘We did mark him (Joe) for the number 10 role and we had him before at Wolves when he did play well.
‘We thought he and Hawkins would be a nice complement, but it just felt with the team performing consistently well and the amount of wins, why change it? We didn’t need to.
‘It is unfortunate but Joe is a good player, has a lot of quality, is a very good bloke and we wish him all the best.’
Mason’s only Pompey start arrived in the Checkatrade Trophy at Crawley in October.
However, that outing ended in personal disappointment, the 27-year-old missing a second-half penalty in the 1-0 win.
He was named on the bench in the recent victory at Fleetwood, marking just the second time he had featured in Pompey’s match-18 during a run of 12 fixtures.
Gallen added: ‘I would like to make it clear that we have a lot of time for Joe.
‘He’s a very good person, a very good player, and is going to do another team a big favour.
‘He came down from a Premier League club to League One, which doesn’t happen as often as people think.
‘I would like to place on record our thanks to him for coming down. Both sides had good intentions, but it just hasn’t worked out.’