Pompey reaping rewards from title trio's return
Title winners reunited '“ and results suggest Pompey are reaping the rewards.
Gareth Evans, Danny Rose and Kal Naismith had fallen out of favour under new boss Kenny Jackett in League One.
The League Two medal-sporting trio remained close by – certainly Evans and Naismith were stalwarts and regulars of the Blues’ substitutes bench.
However, all were restored to the first-team for the Checkatrade Trophy trip to Charlton following four straight defeats.
The 1-0 success has subsequently heralded a run of four wins in five matches, most recently last weekend’s triumph over Plymouth Argyle.
Evans, Rose and Naismith – such pivotal performers last season – have started every one of the fixtures during the current impressive run.
And Pompey’s vice-captain is convinced the remaining members of title side are demonstrating they still have plenty to contribute in League One.
Evans said: ‘I don’t really want to say that it’s the champions that have got us the recent wins, that has not been the case, it has been whoever has come in.
‘For instance, against Southend, Matty Kennedy created the winner and he wasn’t here last season.
‘There have been contributing factors, but I think sometimes if you are in a bit of a lull it does help that you can get lads together who know each other’s games really well.
‘That can make a difference sometimes. It could be one of the reasons, I don’t know.
‘We’d had four losses on the bounce and wanted to turn it around, whoever the personnel. All the players were keen to turn it round.
‘It just so happens that the majority of players on the pitch at the time were lads who played last year.
‘Some of the players are champions, without wanting to blow our own trumpet. We won the league last season, you don’t do that by having average footballers.
‘The manager inherited some really good footballers, but also brought in some excellent players. He has a really good blend here, a good selection to choose from.’
Having been recalled at right-back against Charlton, Evans has capitalised on Nathan Thompson’s one-match ban he served at Blackpool.
The former Fleetwood talent has remained in the side, even being pushed into his favoured right-wing role to accommodate Thompson against Plymouth.
Although Jackett is likely to rotate his team for Saturday’s Checkatrade Trophy visit of Northampton.
Evans added: ‘Thompson was unfortunate to be sent off against Luton meaning he missed Blackpool – and that gave me a chance.
‘Sometimes it’s the rub of the green you can have in terms of getting into the team.
‘From a personal point of view, I don’t know whether the gaffer sees me as a right-winger or right-back, but Jamal is having an outstanding season so there is quality all over our pitch.
‘It’s tough to get into the team and sometimes it takes someone to get suspended to get the chance.’