Why Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman didn't feature for Portsmouth reserves in Exeter defeat

Kenny Jackett explained why Gareth Evans or Brett Pitman weren't involved in last Tuesday’s reserve-team defeat at Exeter.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 8:00 am

Fans’ favourite Evans was left out of Pompey’s match-day squads for victories over Lincoln and Sunderland, although earned a recall for Saturday’s win at Tranmere following an injury to Andy Cannon.

He’s also failed to start a league game since the New Year’s Day draw at Gillingham.

Meanwhile, Pitman has been omitted for the past eight games and is now training with Bournemouth’s under-23s having fallen out of the Blues’ plans.

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Pompey were only to able to field three players aged above 23 for the 2-1 Premier League Cup loss at St James Park.

And Jackett felt senior professionals Lee Brown, Paul Downing and Oli Hawkins needed the minutes more than Evans and Pitman.

The boss said: ‘You can only pick three over-age players and a goalkeeper.

‘For Gareth, he has had some games, Gillingham probably his last one.

Brett Pitman, left, and Gareth Evans. Picture: Simon Davies

‘Marcus Harness, Ellis Harrison had 50/50 with John Marquis against Sunderland, so there was a temptation but there is only a certain amount that can play.

‘You're looking at who in my opinion needs it the most, in terms of overall fitness.

‘You can train, work as hard as you can running or training in the gym, but sometimes you need to get out there and play a game to get the rust out.’

Pompey are entering a hectic period where they’ll play twice a week for the next month-and-a-half in League One, the FA Cup and EFL Trophy.

Jackett stressed he’ll need everyone available to ensure fatigue doesn’t seep in.

He added: ‘In terms of the group, we have some good choices. I'm pleased to say we have a minimal amount of injuries, long may it continue, and somebody had to be left out.

‘But things can turn around very quickly as we know. We had eight games in January and have eight games through February. We going to need a group and a squad.

‘For the guys that are not necessarily currently playing, they'll have to be ready because, as I said, things can change in football.

‘It’s early in February and we're still battling and fighting on three fronts, three competitions.

‘So we are going to need everybody and everybody has to be prepared and ready when called upon.’