Antoni Sarcevic fired an answer to his critics at Charlton on Tuesday night – but Ian Evatt feels neither his captain nor senior striker Eoin Doyle are getting enough credit for what they are doing for Wanderers.
Sarcevic has been Bolton’s Mr Tuesday night since picking up the skipper’s armband last summer – scoring six of his 10 goals for the club under the midweek lights.
But the midfielder’s recent performances have been put under scrutiny in some quarters – much like team-mate Doyle, who came under fire for a few high-profile misses in defeats against Rotherham United and Sunderland.
Doyle could not get on the scoresheet at Charlton – spending much of a fruitless night harrying and closing down the home defenders.
In fact, the Irishman managed just 10 touches of the ball in his 85 minutes on the pitch, just two of which were in the opposition penalty box.
But Evatt insists both players bring more to the team than may first meet the eye.
“To be honest, Sarce and Doyler’s work ethic for the team, people that have criticised the pair of them in the past or criticised Eoin on Saturday for missing chances, the work that Eoin does for this team is incredible and people have to remember that,” he said.
“There’s a lot resting on his shoulders with goals, of course there is, and I’ve said on Monday about other people chipping in and helping Eoin, but this team can’t function without someone in the number nine position that works like that and he’s a credit to this football club.”
Evatt reckons Wanderers’ playing style places added demands on Doyle and Sarcevic which would not be the case for a normal striker, or number 10.
And while he is keen to get as many goals as he can from two of his most experienced attacking players, he hopes fans also recognise the work they do for the team off the ball.
“That’s us as a team, isn’t it,” he said. “We are high tempo, high intensity with and without the ball, not only is the nine expected to score, but he’s expected to press and work and hurry people and he does that for us every single time.
“We can’t really moan if he misses a chance or two because he works so hard for the team. The rest of it can’t function without that work ethic and he leads by example, as does Antoni.”