Michael Duff makes Antony Evans claim as Bristol Rovers midfielder completes Huddersfield move

Huddersfield Town manager Michael Duff believes the Terriers have signed a leader and technician who is just entering his prime as Antony Evans has completed his move from Bristol Rovers, ending his three-year stay at the Mem.

Evans underwent a medical on Wednesday night after a fee in the region of £450,000 had been agreed between the two clubs, with the Terriers’ initial approach rejected last week, and the Scouser has signed a three-year deal at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Rovers’ reigning Player of the Year always looked likely to leave this summer as he entered the final 12 months of his contract in BS7 with little indication he planned to sign extended terms for the Gas.

As a result, rather than lose him nothing next season while also running the risk of keeping an unhappy and unsettled player, Rovers have reluctantly cashed in on the midfielder who played some of his best football in a blue and white quartered jersey last season. Th 25-year-old also wore the captain's armband in the absence of Sam Finley and was a significant dressing room figure during his time at the club.

Evans finished with 10 goals and six assists in 49 games and was one of the few individual bright spots from a disappointing campaign which petered out. That return, however, significantly boosted his reputation as a League One performer, while his expiring contract made him an attractive transfer proposition in the third tier.

"I couldn’t be happier to have Antony join, and I’m looking forward to seeing him get involved with the rest of the team straight away," said Duff, who was a regular visitor to the Mem last season. "One of the best players in the division last season, his consistency, productivity and attitude hugely appeal to us.

“Technically capable, physically imposing and with a great track record, his energy is exactly what you want to introduce at the this stage of the summer. Now entering his prime, Antony was a leader for Bristol Rovers and was someone his teammates learned to rely on, so he ticks all of our boxes as both a person and professional.”

Some Rovers fans have voiced frustration over the fee but with the desire for a sale as early as possible in the window, to remove any uncertainty around his situation, coupled with Huddersfield being the only genuinely interested party, the Gas have had to take what they can get, to a certain extent.

Evans becomes Huddersfield’s fourth signing of the summer in which Michael Duff is trying to build a squad capable of making an instant return to the Championship. He can be viewed as a replacement for Jack Rudoni, who was sold to Coventry City for £4million.

Having been gazumped by Birmingham City last week in their attempts to sign Alfie May from Charlton Athletic, there were some concerns in Yorkshire that Blues would do the same with Evans but Bristol Live understands that he was never really on their radar.

Antony Evans celebrates scoring during his first season with Bristol Rovers -Credit:Ryan Hiscott/JMP
Antony Evans celebrates scoring during his first season with Bristol Rovers -Credit:Ryan Hiscott/JMP

Rovers’ planning under director of football George Friend means that despite losing such a key figure as Evans, they already appear to have his long-term replacement in position with Isaac Hutchinson having joined from Walsall last month. The Gas are keen to make further additions in the final third, though, to help mitigate not just the loss of Evans’ goals from midfield but also his all-round creativity.

With West Ham Under-23 centre-back Michael Forbes set to become Rovers’ eighth summer signing, six of Taylor’s additions so far have been at the defensive end, with Ruel Sotiriou and Hutchinson the only new forward-minded players through the door so far in what is proving a busy summer for Friend in his first window in the role.

Evans joined Rovers on a free transfer from German club Paderborn towards the end of the 2021 summer window, he went on to make 142 appearances for the club, scoring 26 goals, and was a regular under Taylor and predeccessor Joey Barton.

In a statement Rovers said: "Everyone at Bristol Rovers would like to thank Antony for all his efforts during his time in the blue-and-white quarters and wish him every success for his future career."

His sale also continues the process of moving away from the Barton regime, with Connor Taylor, James Connolly, Luca Hoole, Luke Thomas and Jed Ward now the only surviving members of the 2021/22 promotion-winning squad.

“I’m over the moon to sign for Huddersfield Town, and I’m really looking forward to knuckling down and getting ready for the season ahead alongside my new teammates," Evans said.

“The ambition of the club is clear to see, and this is a journey I want to be part of. After speaking to the sporting director and head coach, I had a great feeling about joining, and my full focus is now on repaying that faith.

“Things came together for me on the pitch last season and I feel really good about my game. I’m confident in my ability, but I also have a real hunger to improve. Working hard under Michael Duff and buying into everything available to me at the club, I can’t wait to see where that takes me.”