GARETH EVANS’ impact at Pompey has been saluted with his future secured.
Paul Cook has paid tribute to the success of the attacking talent, as he revealed he’s activated a clause for a new deal.
Evans will be at Fratton Park next season after crossing an appearance-based threshold for a year’s extension to his current agreement.
The 27-year-old has made his mark in 39 appearances, scoring eight goals after leaving Fleetwood Town last season.
That paved the way for Pompey to run the rule over Evans in pre-season.
Fans quickly saw the former Manchester United youngster possessed the attributes to make a mark in League Two.
Evans has missed out in recent weeks, with his last start coming in the defeat to Newport County.
An ankle injury forced him off at half-time against the Exiles, with just a late sub appearance arriving since against Carlisle last weekend.
Cook, though, lauded the qualities Evans has offered his side throughout the campaign.
He said: ‘Gareth’s had an outstanding season and scored some massively-vital goals for us.
‘Just when he was out injured Adam McGurk has come in. But Gareth’s had a great season and he’s champing at the bit to get back in.
‘We had a look at Gareth. He’s a lot better than a trial.
‘At that stage we were trying to recruit players for Portsmouth Football Club.
‘Gareth could have got contracts at a number of places, but maybe not the places he’d have liked to be.
‘So we just had a look at him.
‘He’s a player we obviously knew well, but hadn’t worked with or seen him.
‘So we were aware of his qualities.
‘They are his penetration and forward running. He runs through the game really well.
‘He creates chances in nigh on every game he plays.
‘He’s a good defender, he works hard for the team and he’s a team player who puts a shift in.
‘He scores goals and is low maintenance.
‘We’re very happy with Gareth. He’s a good lad, a man and a tough lad.’
Cook explained Evans signed a contract which is similar to deals agreed by many of his team-mates.
That is in terms of an initial deal being inked with an extension being tied to appearances made this season.
With Evans playing a major role, it was quickly apparent he would be staying around for another season.
Cook admitted such deals are a fair way to reward players.
He said: ‘He actually hit that total ages ago.
‘It was quite a while back.
‘That was the challenge for Gareth, like a lot of players when we first came in.
‘Break into the team, and by the time you get those games you get another year and everyone’s happy.’