Following a mixed beginning to 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two season, Bradford City boss Stuart McCall has brought in his fifth Summer signing two months after previously welcoming Callum Cooke to Valley Parade.
The man through the doors in West Yorkshire is familiar to his surroundings, as Gareth Evans re-joins the Bantams after departing in 2011. This is the second time Evans has signed the contract under McCall, after doings so in McCall’s first tenure in 2009, and the midfielder will be eager to win back the love of the Bradford faithful after making an enemy of them in 2012 when tauntingly netting twice for Rotherham and jeering in front of the travelling City fans.
However what’s in the past is in the past, and the 32 year old has signed a two year contract for Bradford.
Evans is the next piece in the complex Bradford City puzzle, and is the perfect player to be bringing in at this stage. Something City have lacked in their opening few games is creativity, with Billy Clarke showing promise but perhaps needed extra incentive and competition to maximise his performances, but with Lee Novak being the club’s leading marksman right now it looks likely that Evans is joining the club to aid Novak’s form and hopefully help the under pressure Kurtis Guthrie to break his deadlock and start off his goalscoring campaign under McCall.
The former Portsmouth man has most recently operated behind the striker in a kind of attacking midfield role, but his versatility and adaptive finesse is one of his best qualities. Evans has previously played in right-back, central and attacking midfield, as a left winger and, as his main position, on the right side in a 4-2-3-1 formation which he excelled in during Pompey’s remarkable League Two promotion back in 2017.
Attacker Evans is a completely different player compared to his first stint with City, and his experience could prove vital in League Two, having made over 470 appearances in the EFL and scoring on 83 occasions. He is also familiar with the grit of England’s fourth tier, having fought in it for Bradford, Rotherham, Fleetwood Town, Portsmouth and Macclesfield Town, so he knows what to expect coming into the season. His experience and leadership qualities will be put to better use this season as well, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing McCall to turn to the youth of the squad, Evans’ advice and superintendence could help guide the likes of Kian Scales, Connor Shanks, Finn Cousin-Dawson and of course Reece Staunton to have a positive impact on the outcome of the season and to make the step up from youth football to the backbone of senior football.
A player adored by Portsmouth fans, it looks increasingly likely that Evans will become a fan favourite and break into the first team squad in no time, providing excellent back up and most importantly competition all over the pitch, he threatens the attacking midfield role, the right and left flanks, the deeper midfield position and he could provide a helpful strike partner to Novak if required.
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featured image credit Bradford City FC