Portsmouth Wembley hero Gareth Evans earmarked for positional battle with Ronan Curtis

Gareth Evans emerged from the bench to inspire Pompey’s capture of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 5:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 5:42 pm
Gareth Evans, right, with Ben Close at Wembley Picture: Joe Pepler

Now Kenny Jackett is weighing up installing him as a fixture in that unfamiliar left-sided role.

Evans had been dropped from the Wembley occasion in favour of restoring fit-again Ronan Curtis to the starting XI.

The reshuffle also signalled Jamal Lowe returning to his more accustomed position on the right of the attacking three.

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Ronan Curtis' left-sided spot is under threat following Gareth Evans' impressive Wembley impact. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Kenny Jackett – never write off Gareth Evans

With Curtis producing a low-key comeback, Jackett turned to Evans on 56 minutes to occupy the left flank against Sunderland.

The 30-year-old proceeded to create Nathan Thompson’s 82nd-minute leveller during a man-of-the-match display.

Now Evans finds himself vying with Curtis to fulfil the role at Wycombe on Saturday.

Jackett said: ‘It didn’t quite work out for Curtis (at Wembley), you have to say Gareth did very well when he came on and that change did help us.

‘Gareth is an option on the left after Sunday’s performance, he was very good there.

‘Generally in my squad planning, Curtis and Solomon-Otabor have been the two on the left and, when they’ve been out, we have varied it in recent games.

‘Gareth has been number 10 this year, pretty successful as well. With me wanting to take Ronan off against Sunderland, going on the left worked out that way.

‘I think he has enough experience to play any of the three positions behind the striker. That’s probably the most success he’s had on the left, but he certainly stepped up on the big occasion.

‘Looking at Shrewsbury, Jamal played on the left side for the first 25 minutes. We didn’t do well in that period, it was Shrewsbury’s best period.

'As they played with a back three, we brought Jamal back over to the right-hand side in his natural role – and that was part of what helped us get back into the game. With Brett pretty much an inside left.

‘Hopefully it’s the right player in the right position at the right time.’

Curtis, of course, has established himself as one of Pompey’s most effective performers this season.

And Jackett will not write him off following that Wembley outing.

He added: ‘Curtis is fine. I think he was fine on Sunday, it just wasn't particularly his afternoon, that's it really.

‘He wasn’t necessarily doing anything wrong, but the subs did help us with slightly different players in Gareth and Hawkins.’