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'Rock and a hard place' - Evatt on Wanderers' covid issues and mixing with fans

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

'Rock and a hard place' - Evatt on Wanderers' covid issues and mixing with fans 12832673

Ian Evatt has discussed the quandary faced by himself and his Wanderers players in the past few days as they confront the prospect of Covid-19 isolations wrecking the start of the League One campaign.

The Bolton boss has readily mixed with supporters during the summer as he effectively met the club’s fanbase for the first time since taking charge just over 12 months ago.

Evatt’s side achieved promotion from League Two having never been able to welcome fans through the turnstiles since February 2020.

Yesterday, the team played an open training session at the UniBol and held a signing session for season ticket holders, but with a few players already self-isolating Evatt is wary that he may have to take a more distanced approach as the new season approaches.

“Obviously we’re having to be ultra-cautious at the moment,” he told The Bolton News. “We are stuck between a rock and a hard place, really, because we really want to engage with the fans and we want to have pictures and we want to sign things. But in the back of the mind is the Covid situation.

“Also, if we don’t sign those things, how is that going to look for us? So, we are just trying to do the right thing for everybody and there isn’t a right or wrong at the moment. It’s just treating things day to day and see how it goes.”

With the League One curtain raiser against MK Dons just 12 days away, and government rules still leaving many vulnerable to mandatory self-isolation, Evatt is aware that the next few days could be crucial to his planning.

“It is so difficult, especially now with the players at that point almost where if they caught it or they had to self-isolate, they’re missing the start of the season,” he said.

“If there was ever a good time to get it, it was probably the last couple of weeks. Now it is becoming more of an issue, so we have to take as many precautions as we can physically and follow protocols as we have tried to do all along.”

Evatt saw his last season at Barrow truncated by the pandemic and then played to empty terraces in his successful first term at Bolton.

Longing for a return to normality, the Bolton boss reckons there is little room for complaint when the wider view is considered.

“I can’t stand here and moan because there’s millions worldwide that are all facing the same problem, if not worse,” he said.

“We are very fortunate that we were able to continue with our jobs throughout lockdowns, throughout the whole of last year when many people were stuck at home self-isolating or isolating in a lockdown.

“We have had the opportunity still to come to work and enjoy our football. It is great to see fans back, of course.

“At the minute there are a lot of unknowns, and we don’t know which way it is going to go.

“Hopefully the vaccine will see us back to some normality, but again, there are too many unanswered questions, so for now, just do what we can do and follow the protocols as best we can.”


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