Ian Evatt is delighted to see that his tactical blueprint is now being carried out by players right throughout his squad.
The Wanderers boss walked away from the touchline on Tuesday night a happy man, albeit one freezing cold and dripping wet from a second-half deluge.
Both full-backs, Harry Brockbank and Liam Gordon, had assists to their name and his two starting centre-halves, Alex Baptiste and Will Aimson, had looked a strong pairing in their first outing together.
Evatt was encouraged that the quality of football which has been evident in League One was replicated in the Papa John’s Trophy against Liverpool Under-21s.
“I think it was a great game to watch,” he said. “And it is a mark of how far we have come that I can make 10 changes and you still think we’re fielding a really strong team. That’s a positive for us.
“The fans turned out but that is just what we are as a football club now. We want to try and win every football match we play, and we also want to entertain our crowd and our fans who have been fantastic home and away.
“I hope they’re a bit drier than me and certainly warmer, but I hope they enjoyed the game. I thought it was a really good game.”
The performance of Brockbank and Gordon on the night was a big plus for Evatt, who believes his wider defenders are starting to deliver more in the opposition half of the pitch.
“That’s a big part of our game,” he said. “I think in the first team you can see the way our full-backs are one of our attackers and then the quality you need in the final third, that decision, that final pass or cross, and all of our full-backs are improving at that.
“We get ourselves into some fantastic positions. It’s just about that final bit of detail that we do and today the detail was there.”
Liverpool’s movement caused a few problems in the first half but Evatt reckons some of his older heads helped to calm things down, and keep goalscoring chances to a minimum.
“It was great,” he said. “Those two, Alex and Will, are very experienced and help the younger players through the game. Their communication is vital and Matt Gilks as well to help the younger players understand triggers, when to press, when to stay off, how to deal with their rotations.
“I thought we did that after the first 15 to 20 minutes really well.”