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Ian Evatt singles out key duo in Leyton Orient victory

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt singled out his defensive duo Ricardo Santos and Alex Baptiste for special praise after Wanderers’ win against Leyton Orient.

Though the Whites boss named a particularly attacking line-up at the University of Bolton Stadium, including six changes from the side beaten against Tranmere Rovers the previous weekend, he felt his alterations in the back four were particularly successful.

With Ryan Delaney suspended, Baptiste was drafted in to partner Santos at centre-back, and in demanding conditions the duo proved an impenetrable partnership for a Leyton Orient attack which had smashed four past Bolton in October.

“I want us to be attacking,” said Evatt, “we created chances and could have taken more but I must make special mention of Rico and Baptiste because I thought they were outstanding.

“I don’t remember Matt having a shot to save all game and that was due to their capabilities and defensive work. They looked controlled, they looked calm, and I’m really pleased with the whole team today.

“If we can do that on a regular basis we’re always going to create because we’ve got some good, talented players. The way we play, our patterns are there but in recent weeks, we’ve been controlling games box to box but we’ve not been good enough in both boxes, defensively.”

Wanderers were also able to give a late debut to Declan John from the bench, and though the Welsh wing-back did not get much of a chance to make an impression, Evatt was delighted to see him out on the pitch.

“I’m really excited to have him out there,” Evatt said. “He was laughing at me after the game saying I only got over the halfway line once! I said: ‘Give us a break, it’s our first win in a few weeks, it’ll come!’ We’ll just build him up slowly. We don’t want to break him down, especially him and Kieran (Lee).

“Kieran was outstanding, to play 90 minutes at that intensity and it just shows you the quality he’ll bring us moving forwards. The most important thing now is that we add to that and keep everybody in one piece.”

Wanderers face a busy February, with seven games in 25 days, and Evatt believes he will need to continue to rotate his squad to cope with the demand.

“It’s very much a squad game and we’re getting players back fit and available again,” he said.

“Kieran Lee makes a huge difference to us with his experience in the middle of the pitch. Nathan Delfouneso is back fit now after his injection, we have Declan (John) returning.

“When we play at the intensity we do and we have Saturday-Tuesday games for the next five weeks, other than one week, we will have to change the team. They simply can’t keep producing that intensity.

“And we got what we deserved, which is the pleasing thing.”


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