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"People are talking about Bolton Wanderers again, which is magnificent"

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Wanderers overcame the biggest examination of their promotion credentials to date – but will not be allowed to gaze at the league table in wonder just yet.

While a hard-fought win at Port Vale may not have been the most aesthetically pleasing result in an 11-game unbeaten run, Ian Evatt believes it may turn out to be one of the most important.

A mammoth run of 10 games in 32 days yielded 29 points, the latest of which came courtesy of Gethin Jones’ winner at Vale Park to lift the Whites into sixth spot in the table.

The full-back scored his second goal of the season – both of which have been against Vale – to settle a tight and feisty affair played in a swirling breeze and a pock-marked playing surface.

Evatt is delighted at the turnaround in form which has got fans dreaming of an immediate return to League One. But the Bolton boss is determined to keep his players’ minds focussed with 11 games still to play.

“That game was everything we’re not,” he said of the combative 90 minutes in the Potteries. “It is everything we are not built for but we passed the test with flying colours.

“I’m confident for the future because I have firm belief in my players but we are not getting carried away. There is a lot more to come.

“Yes, we’re a good team, yes, we’re improving fast, yes, people are talking about Bolton Wanderers again, which is magnificent, and great for the club. But we have to just keep doing the hard yards and doing the hard work keeping our feet on the ground, being humble and learning and improving and then going again on Saturday.”

Though Wanderers moved to within four points of the automatic promotion places and five points off top spot with the win at Vale, Evatt says he is not yet plotting any particular path through the remaining games, or assessing where points may be gained on rival teams.

“I’ve not mapped anything out,” he said. “I’m concentrating on the next game and if we win all our games, no-one can stop us. Simple as that, so we’re just going to concentrate on Walsall, put full focus into that and go again on Saturday.”

For the first time since late January, Wanderers have now got a full week to prepare for their next fixture.

Evatt will give his players some rest before preparing for Walsall’s visit and the final quarter of the campaign.

“First and foremost, they need to recover and freshen their minds, because it takes a lot out of you physically and mentally to keep going on these types of runs,” he said.

“They will do that and then Tuesday, we will be back in the building ready to work and ready to go again. I keep saying it, it doesn’t matter about anybody else and it doesn’t matter about other results.

“There are still 33 points to play for. We just have to take care of our business and our business is a good week’s training, recover first and foremost, and then go again against Walsall.”


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