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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Evatt prepares for 50th game in charge: How he measures up at Bolton

Evatt prepares for 50th game in charge: How he measures up at Bolton

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Ian Evatt could celebrate his half-century in style this weekend at Wanderers.

The Bolton boss will take charge of his 50th game looking to secure his 24th win in all competitions.

According to information supplied by Twitter account @BWFCStats, Evatt is currently ranked fifth in Bolton’s all-time list of managers who have made it to the landmark.

Recently, the likes of Keith Hill (35), Sammy Lee (14) and Roy McFarland (28) checked out sooner than they would have liked – but of those who have reached the 50-game mark, Evatt currently stands in very good company.

The great Bruce Rioch tops the list with 26 wins from his first 50 games, which culminated in promotion to the second tier in a glorious 1992/93 season.

But the architect of the White Hot years only does so on goal difference from Big Sam Allardyce, whose first 50 games straddled the 1999/00 and 2000/01 campaigns.

Indeed, Sam can potentially count himself unlucky that the 46th time he took to the Bolton dugout was for a play-off semi-final at Portman Road, Ipswich, and that a certain Barry Knight was the referee that night.

Phil Parkinson comes in third with the same number of wins and just one fewer point taken after his team romped to promotion to the Championship in his first season in charge.

Parky’s 50th game in charge was actually a 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United – hardly the way he would have wanted to celebrate – but he will take some solace from the fact he conceded fewer goals (46) than any previous Bolton manager over the same timeframe.

In stark comparison, John Bentley, who served as Bolton’s secretary at the latter end of the 19th century, recorded the impressive figures of 151 goals scored and 136 against.

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Nudging slightly ahead of Evatt in fourth spot is Colin Todd, whose solo record as Bolton boss included four months of a dismal Premier League campaign.

Todd had, of course, been placed in joint charge with Roy McFarland in 1995/96 but the fact his record still stands up so well is down entirely to the magnificent start made to the following year – and arguably the most entertaining Bolton team to date.

Todd’s 50th game in charge was a 2-2 draw at Swindon Town, with John McGinlay and Scott Green on the scoresheet.

Evatt has a chance of moving level with Todd in the all-time win percentage list if his side wins their two remaining games of the season against Exeter City and Crawley Town.

That he is able to do so is remarkable given the first half of the campaign, which left Wanderers playing catch-up.

Halfway through his current total the Bolton boss had eight wins, five draws and 12 defeats to show for his first 25 games. That win percentage (32) would put him level-pegging with Owen Coyle and marginally better than John McGovern.

Since beating Leyton Orient on January 30, the Whites have lost just twice in 20 games, winning 15 – an incredible 75 per cent.

There is also a growing belief that Wanderers may be the first team to claw back such a league deficit to gain automatic promotion.

Iain Dowie’s Crystal Palace were 20th in the Championship after 25 games in 2004 and went on to seal promotion via the play-offs.

Other examples of impressive mid-season turnarounds such as Roy Keane’s Sunderland in 2007 or Reading’s rise in 2012, have become the stuff of legend in recent years but neither made up as many points nor league positions as Bolton since they began their ascent, climbing from 20th position on February 6 to their current lofty perch in the automatic promotion places.

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
They really are scraping the barrel in the irrelevant statistics department.

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