Gareth Evans: I want promotion not awards at Pompey

It's an accolade, a treasured one at that, handed pride of place in the Evans household at their Winchester home.

Gareth Evans, centre, takes the acclaim of his team-mates after scoring at Northampton  one of three goals in December
Gareth Evans, centre, takes the acclaim of his team-mates after scoring at Northampton  one of three goals in December

Yet for Pompey’s newly-honoured midfielder, promotion out of League Two remains the ultimate prize.

Gareth Evans earned the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award for December in recognition of an outstanding month.

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Goals in successive matches against Hartlepool, Northampton and Leyton Orient represented an eye-catching period from the ex-Fleetwood player.

Operating on the right-hand side of Paul Cook’s attacking midfield trio, Evans has recently been producing the best form of his Fratton Park career.

He was moved to the bench for last weekend’s FA Cup draw at Ipswich, with Adam McGurk and Gary Roberts recalled to the attacking positions.

But he is expected to be back in the starting line-up at Accrington tomorrow.

And his target continues to be fixed on leaving League Two rather than accruing more personal honours.

He said: ‘I was chuffed to bits.

‘Obviously it’s nice to get personal awards which let you know what you are doing is correct, that you are on the right path and doing the right things.

‘So now it’s just a case of keeping up my December form.

‘The team has been fantastic over the last month or two, really good, and unfortunate not to win every game.

‘For me, that award is a first. I have won player of the month accolades at different clubs I’ve been at, but never one for the league.

‘It’s something to be proud on obviously. When you look back at your career you want to have something to show for what you’ve done.

‘But if I had to choose between player of the month and promotion it would be promotion all-day long, so it’s not high up on the priority list to win stuff like that.

‘Hopefully I can keep up the performances and we’ll end up getting promoted, that remains the aim.

‘If I am honest, the last couple of games before last weekend I was probably not up to scratch, fitness-wise I have been struggling massively with a real heavy cough. I’ve had a bit of a chest infection and don’t think I was as sharp as I was in December.

‘It has started to go now so hopefully I will find that form again at Accrington and carry it on.

‘Sitting out at Ipswich was a bit of a squad rotation thing, I’ve played a lot of games since the start of the season and sometimes opportunities come along where some players need a game and some players deserve a game.

‘I was hitting a really good stage and hopefully I can carry that on now.’

Evans has received some disappointing news this month, however.

The first goal against Orient has now been officially credited as an own goal to Connor Essam, bringing the midfielder’s tally down to six for the season.

He added: ‘It’s my goal, without a shadow of a doubt!

‘Benno put the ball in and I put my thigh there and touched it.

‘It was going into the far corner and then it has hit one of their players and gone in at the near corner.’