Gareth Evans: Why Portsmouth want to avoid a second Wembley visit this season

Gareth Evans enjoyed Pompey’s ‘magical’ day at Wembley but insisted: We don’t want to come back again this season.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 10:15 am
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 10:17 am
Gareth Evans

The Blues defeated League One promotion rivals Sunderland to lift the Checkatrade Trophy after a penalty shootout on Sunday.

Another visit to the national stadium could be on the cards next month – should Pompey be forced to settle for a League One play-off place.

But Evans stressed the Blues would much rather achieve automatic promotion.

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Kenny Jackett’s men turn their attention back to the race to reach the Championship when they travel to Wycombe on Saturday. 

Pompey still have a decent chance of finishing in the top two, although they’re relying on Barnsley and Sunderland to drop points.

The Blues sit five points behind the second-placed Tykes but have played a game more, while the Black Cats’ 3-0 win at Accrington last night moved them up to third having played two matches fewer. 

Nevertheless, Evans is adamant Pompey want to avoid a second Wembley date this term.

Gareth Evans

He said: ‘We don’t want to come back here.

‘If we do then we’re confident that we can produce the goods once again, we’ll just have to see how the season turns out.

‘Obviously both teams will be hoping for automatic promotion.

‘Everyone wants to get automatic promotion.

Gareth Evans, right, celebrates Pompey's Wembley triumph with Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘If we do end up having to go through the play-offs then you want to come to Wembley and we’re confident we can win again.

‘Both sets of supporters have been through hard times recently so it was nice for them to have a day out.

‘Especially for the Portsmouth fans to celebrate something now made it a pretty magical day.’

The Checkatrade Trophy final win over Sunderland ensured Pompey have won both meetings between the teams this season.

Jackett’s men were 3-1 victors in the League One clash at Fratton Park in December.

Evans is unsure whether that will work as an advantage in the promotion run-in, however, with the pair meeting again at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, April 27. 

But the ex-Bradford midfielder feels Wembley glory can give the squad a lift.

Evans added: ‘Obviously, it was nothing to do with the league but hopefully it can give us a confidence boost.

‘It’s also a reminder of the real quality in our squad and some real good character.

‘We hope that can take us forward in the league and we can gain confidence from that.’