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Can Wanderers find the answers on their magical mystery tour at Newport?

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt will be looking for a bit of magic on Wanderers’ Monday Mystery tour at Newport.

The Bolton boss admits there is a lot he won’t know about today’s opponents until the day of the game – not least how a newly re-turfed pitch has held up after some weekend’s rugby union.

And recent experience in the South West at Forest Green has also reminded him that opposition teams are now trying every trick in the book to throw his own players off their promotion course.

It promises to be a pivotal day in the chase for a top three spot with Tranmere Rovers facing leaders Cambridge United, Forest Green hosting Salford and Cheltenham Town heading to lowly Grimsby.

Evatt and his players have had to think on their feet during the current unbeaten run and the Bolton boss expects it to be no different at Rodney Parade.

“I genuinely don’t know what to expect from Newport,” he told The Bolton News. “We went to Forest Green, who were third in the table, and they change formation to stop us and only water one side of the pitch.

“I have no idea what type of pitch we’ll be playing on at Newport. I saw a picture on their social media this week where it looked like there was grass on it, which is a start. We’ll go there and see what we come up against and whatever conditions, of course, it is the same for both teams.

“Opposition teams are not going to make it easy for us and they are completely entitled to play any way they like – even if it means playing for a draw from minute one. If that is the case, then credit to us, because that is the team we have become in other people’s eyes.

“The bottom line on Monday is that good teams find a way. You have to find a way of getting a result regardless of opposition, of conditions, and that is what we will be looking to do at Newport.”

After some frustration at the UniBol against Colchester United, Evatt hopes that being the away team will give them some space to manoeuvre at Rodney Parade.

Bolton boast a decent away record this season and along with Walsall and Tranmere have lost the fewest games (four) on their travels.

“Yeah, because the emphasis at home for home teams is to attack and win games and that changes things,” Evatt agreed, “Then the way we are defending at the moment, it only really takes one change or one goal for us to be ahead in the game and comfortable.

“That would have happened against Colchester in my opinion. We just could not get that first goal and they grew in stature and confidence and ran their socks off for a new manager.

“We had too many attacking players who were not up to the levels we need them to be.

“You are in the team to create and score goals and we just didn’t do that enough in the second half.”


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