Conor Chaplin: Pompey’s midfield machine is motoring

Gareth Evans heads home against Northampton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans heads home against Northampton. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Evans has struck five times in 23 Pompey appearances so far
  • The 27-year-old has netted 60 career goals since an August 2007 debut

They have christened him ‘The Absolute Machine’.

And Conor Chaplin believes workaholic Gareth Evans will continue to ensure the Pompey midfield runs at optimum capacity.

Gaz has goals, energy and assists in his locker, everyone can see what he brings to this team

Gareth Evans

Evans’ stunning header from Marc McNulty’s cross at Northampton last weekend was his fifth goal of the campaign.

No Blues player has scored more League Two goals this season than the 27-year-old, putting him on level terms with Chaplin, McNulty and Matt Tubbs.

Yet his energetic displays as part of Paul Cook’s attacking three have also been crucial to the Blues’ ongoing promotion push.

Those tireless showings from the former Fleetwood man since his summer arrival have made him a popular figure among his team-mates.

And Chaplin continues to be impressed by Evans’ endeavours.

He said: ‘With Gareth, the work he does very much goes unnoticed.

‘Adam McGurk and I were warming up as substitutes against Northampton and there was a moment when we counter-attacked.

‘Gaz has been on the edge of our box and run to the opposite corner flag in record time, which shows the attitude he has got.

‘He has goals, energy and assists in his locker, everyone can see what he brings to this team.

‘He can run all day. We call him “The Absolute Machine”.

‘There are not many people built like that – great energy and great skill.

‘We have plenty of goalscorers in the team at the moment, which can only be a good thing.’

Evans has been a regular starter in Cook’s side, usually on the right-hand side of the attacking trio.

In the Capital One Cup clash with Reading he even filled in at right-back following an injury to Ben Davies.

Cook presently has an abundance of attacking options in midfield, with Ben Tollitt the latest to emerge and impress from the bench in his recent outings. Yet Evans continues to be a regular fixture, missing only three league games so far, albeit courtesy of a three-match suspension.

His Northampton goal represented the second successive Pompey match in which he has netted.

And the other scorer in that 2-1 triumph over the then-League Two leaders saluted the moment.

Chaplin added: ‘At the time I said to McGurk it was very much Ronaldo-esque the way he went up into the air and headed it into the far corner.

‘There are very, very few players who can do that.

‘Look at the distance the header covered and the fact the cross didn’t have great pace on it, it was unbelievable.’

Evans has five goals in 23 appearances for Pompey, already more than he produced with Fleetwood last term.

However, Chaplin is the Blues’ leading scorer at present with seven, of which two arrived in the Capital One Cup back in August.