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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » 'Things are looking up' - Evatt wants Wanderers to turn potential into reality

'Things are looking up' - Evatt wants Wanderers to turn potential into reality

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Adrenaline was still pumping as Wanderers’ players climbed back aboard the team bus on Wednesday night but for Ian Evatt, some food for thought on the 20-minute drive to his own home near Chesterfield.

To paraphrase Ricardo Santos as he bounced out of Field Mill with a smile on his face, Bolton were “taking home the W” – the celebrations a stark contrast to the way the night looked to be panning out with just 11 minutes of the game remaining and the score-line still at 2-0.

For Evatt, picking a team to face Southend United on Saturday becomes a case of separating the hard facts from those clouded by joyous scenes at the final whistle.

Which players did their job? Which ones fatigued on the sticky playing surface? Which of the subs did enough to make the team at Roots Hall.

For the first time since his arrival at Bolton in the summer, Evatt has some genuine competition for places, increased further by the impending return to fitness of skipper Antoni Sarcevic and full-back Harry Brockbank, both of whom will feel they have a fair shout of being a first team regular.

A win at Southend could see the Whites break into the top 10 for the first time since November and, depending on results elsewhere, the gap on the play-off places could be reduced to a single point.

Considering what went before in the first half of the season, Evatt’s call for focus and calm heads is a refreshing change of pace. The Bolton boss knows his squad is stronger now that it has been at any stage of the campaign so far, coming into its most crucial stretch.

“You have seen that me, my players, the staff and the board are going to fight to the bitter end. We will do all we can to try and get this club where it belongs,” he told The Bolton News.

“We have given ourselves a hell of a lot to do but one thing is for certain, once clubs see Bolton Wanderers start to creep up the league it will start to strike some fear into our opponents. We are now a threat. We look a better team and we’re controlling games better.

"We have a competitive squad so we can rotate and whoever comes off the bench can make an impact. Things are looking up but that’s all it is at the moment, we have to keep working hard and doing our day-to-day work with the same intensity.

“I have said to the players, that kind of victory can be season-defining. But it is only potential at the moment, we have to make it reality. There are 18 massive games to come and we have given ourselves an opportunity but that’s all it is.”

Wanderers have battled back to claim a result before but Wednesday night was the first time this season that they recovered a win from a losing position.

Evatt puts that down to an ability change the game from his bench and a new found feeling at all levels of the club that things are now moving in a positive direction.

“We have got people who can really make an impact off the bench and I haven’t had that all season,” he said. “When we have done some Murderball or 11 v 11, you honestly don’t know which team is going to get the better of it because both teams are very equal at the moment.

“Ryan wasn’t in the squad but he’s a centre-back and I’m an attacking manager so I prefer attacking options on the bench, but he’s ready to step in. We had Zach (Elbouzedi) who didn’t make the bench, there’s big Lukas (Jensen) who is looking really good in training. The squad is competitive and with Sarce almost back as well, there’s a lot to think about.

“But also the attitude and spirit of the camp at the moment is fantastic and I don’t just mean the players, I mean the staff around the club, the whole place has a different feel and when you are in it day-to-day you can sense it.”


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