George Johnston will keep cool in the heat of Saturday’s local battle against Wigan Athletic, says Ian Evatt.
With Lancastrian bragging rights at stake, a crowd approaching 20,000 is expected at the UniBol tomorrow afternoon for what is the first league meeting between the clubs since March 2019.
Johnston helped Wigan avoid back-to-back relegations last season, having joined the Latics on loan from Feyenoord.
He then turned down the opportunity to return to the DW Stadium this summer in favour of a move to Bolton.
Evatt has called for his players to keep their calm in what is likely to be a feisty game and believes young defender Johnston has the perfect mentality for the day.
“He has been excellent for us,” enthused the Bolton boss. “George is a very good young player and we are delighted to have him and with what we have seen so far, I hope he can keep that up.
“Again, it is for him to channel the emotion on a day like this. But he is a down to earth boy and he understands what is required. He is looking forward to the game.
“He is very level headed, a strong character. I think you have to be like that to move away from home at such a young age and back yourself to go to somewhere like Feyenoord. It speaks volumes for his character.
“He will be ready to play and cope with the occasion.”
Wanderers have already sampled what is in store against Wigan, contesting a goalless draw at the DW in August in the Carabao Cup before going out of the competition on a penalty shootout.
Evatt is hoping for a better outcome this time around.
“Local derbies are always high intensity, high tempo,” he said. “Sometimes they actually lack quality because of that and the emotion can get the better of players and supporters, but we have to stay cool, calm and composed because that’s the way we play.
“We have to be brave with the ball, but also show the passion and desire out of possession.
“The two things to marry them up in the same match is difficult to do but we have to do it on Saturday. It’s a game we want to win for ourselves and for the fans.”