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Ian Evatt impressed with Liam Gordon's progress

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt impressed with Liam Gordon's progress 12429933

Liam Gordon will be given a second shot at Wanderers when he returns to the club at the end of the season.

The pacy full-back struggled to hold down a regular spot at the UniBol after a summer switch from Dagenham and Redbridge, returning to his former team on loan in December.

Gordon has since hit a vein of form in the National League, scoring three times in his last six starts.

Ian Evatt says he is monitoring the 21-year-old with a view to bringing him back into the squad over the summer in what will be the final year of his contract with the Whites.

“I’m really pleased with him,” said the Bolton boss. “I’ve kept a keen eye on Liam and what he has been doing and that’s the benefit of having someone go out on loan. He’s a great example.

“He went out as a young player, got more experience, he is doing the things he learned here and we have asked him to do – get forward, score goals from that full-back position. You have seen with Gethin and Declan that in this team you need to be able to do that.

“Liam is doing really well and we’re looking forward to having him back next season. We will keep watching him, making sure he’s OK, and that he keeps improving now that he has got games through to the end of the season.”

Evatt has had great success in recent weeks with Gethin Jones and Declan John on either end of his defence, with the full-back position becoming increasingly more important in the tactical make-up of the team.

“We’re a team that play a modern way, so the modern day full-back are almost hybrid wingers,” he said. “They’re players that can attack and run forwards, have skills, have good final third quality, but can also defend and I think our full-backs have got that in-between style, between traditional full-back and winger.

“Harry Brockbank and Ben Jackson are also the hybrid type that the modern-day game is looking for now.”

Ian Evatt impressed with Liam Gordon's progress 12429932

Wanderers go into today’s home clash with Walsall on the back of their longest unbeaten run since 2001.

Evatt spotted signs of fatigue in last weekend’s win at Port Vale and offered his players a few days of rest before preparation began for the Saddlers’ visit.

Wanderers battled through to claim three points at Vale Park but Evatt makes no secret of the fact he will be looking for improvement this afternoon.

“We have shown we can fight but we need to be better than we were on Saturday at Port Vale, especially first half,” he said.

“The pitch wasn’t great, the conditions were not great, and the opposition were really trying to rough us up and unsettle us but we weren’t good enough, it’s that simple.

“We can use all those things as excuses but we still need to be better. Once we improved after half time, the goal for instance, and play the way we want to play then it causes teams problems.

“Regardless of surfaces and weather conditions that we can’t control, we need to improve on our own personal performances and be better than we were on Saturday.”

Today’s game gives Wanderers a chance to avenge another scrappy afternoon in December when they were bettered 2-1 at the Banks’s Stadium.

Evatt’s side go in as strong favourites to do just that but the manager has underlined to his players that their good form will count for nothing if focus is lost.

“We are looking at the future, forgetting what has happened in the rest of the season, even the last 11 games. We are fully focussed on Walsall,” he said.

“We will give them the respect they deserve but we have full confidence in ourselves and if we get to the levels I expect and the players expect of themselves then we think we will get the three points.

“There are no easy games in this league. You look at results week on week on week. They are strange up and down the pyramid, it’s the nature of English football.

“We have to have belief and confidence with the way we are playing at the moment.

“Playing Saturday-Tuesday so often for the last five or six weeks has helped us purely because we’ve been in good form and when you’re in that sort of form, playing back-to-back can really have a benefit.

“You can, like we’ve seen, shoot up the table really quickly with some consistency, but now I believe we can really benefit from this period of full week’s training and getting some finer details into the players.

“I wanted to work on the things that I think are still wrong and that we can improve on, there’s still lots of that.”




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