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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Ian Evatt: Oldham defeat was a low point in Bolton's season

Ian Evatt: Oldham defeat was a low point in Bolton's season

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

By now, Wanderers fans will know that Ian Evatt does not shy away from speaking his mind.

The Bolton boss can rarely be accused to hiding his emotions but when Oldham Athletic plundered three points at the UniBol back in October, his condemnation of the performance caused jaws to drop around the town.

Zak Dearnley’s 90th-minute winner had hit the dressing room like a sledgehammer and Evatt’s post-match admission that he had been “disgusted” by the result certainly gave the headline writers something to chew on.

The result came at a time when Wanderers had just four points on the board and had dropped them to 20th - their lowest-ever league position at the time.

Thankfully, Wanderers go into their latest meeting with the Latics in a much better frame of mind, having won six of their last seven games to move into seventh spot at the weekend.

Talk of promotion, which looked so out-of-place during the early-season struggles, is now surfacing once more and Evatt believes his side will learn from their last meeting with the Latics and in particular the way they counter-attacked in the final minute to land the killer blow.

“We have had a few low points this season, no doubt about it,” he said. “And I remember that game like it was yesterday and the feeling we had in the dressing room afterwards was awful. It shows the danger they pose on the counter attack and that if we are building phases of play that we have the right security. They can hurt you.

“This team has come a long way since then. It is in a completely different place, mentally, technically and tactically.

“I think we’re capable of going and putting on a performance but we have to earn the right, it won’t just happen. We work hard and hopefully our quality will take over.”

Having found an ultra-defensive Barrow a tough nut to crack at the weekend, Evatt anticipates a very different proposition at Boundary Park, where Harry Kewell’s Oldham embrace a much more attacking style of play.

Four months on from their last meeting, however, Evatt reckons his own team have started to think more for themselves – a product of what the manager dubs the “dark days” at the start of the campaign.

“I think all the low points of this season have motivated the team to take advantage of times like this,” he said. “The improvement has come from practice and them getting used to what I want out there. But last Saturday we also played against a side that knows what I do and how I try to do it. I spent two years building it there and they implemented that style to try and stop us, and for 90 minutes it worked.

“We could have easily scored a goal earlier on and changed the game but games come down to finding solutions and every one of them is different. We can always look at video analysis and predict what the opposition are going to do and then it can completely change, like it did on Saturday.

“The players need to address that in their own heads, without listening to me or getting to half-time when it might be too late, and find a solution themselves. They are doing that now – different solutions to different scenarios..”

One potential picker of locks who was not available against Barrow because of illness was Marcus Maddison.

He will be back in contention against Oldham for what Evatt hopes will be a more open game.

“If ever there was a game built for Marcus it was Saturday. Someone with a bit of magic that does something unpredictable that can get you a goal and that’s why Marcus was brought to the club because he has got that,” he said. “Unfortunately for us he wasn’t available at the weekend but he is now and if we encounter that again – and I don’t think that will happen at Oldham – we should be better for it.

“Harry is an attacking manager and he’ll want to come out and back his players to cause us problems. If that is the case then we might be able to take advantage of the open spaces.

“We need to be better at what we do. These things happen to the best teams – West Brom went to Man City earlier in the season and got a result. They went to Liverpool and got one at Anfield by doing exactly the same. It can happen to the very best.

“It was just final third detail. The right crossing option, the right pass, the right movement, the right combination.”


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