Wanderers have been challenged to prove their critics wrong with a cup double that starts tonight at Spotland.
Ian Evatt takes his struggling side to Rochdale in the Papa John’s Trophy before another local clash at home to Stockport County in the FA Cup first round.
Down-on-their-luck Bolton have failed to score in four of their last five games, with their attacking options reduced by injury to Amadou Bakayoko, which has left Eoin Doyle playing through a bad bout of illness.
New signing Elias Kachunga has also struggled to get among the goals, which has left a heavy burden on top scorer Dapo Afolayan.
Doubters have started to raise their head again after a poor run of results and Evatt accepts he has left himself open to criticism with recent statements about his team’s ambition.
But the Bolton boss remains convinced his players can reverse the trend, starting with a confidence-boosting victory tonight to book a place in the second round.
“For the type of team that we are and the amount of chances we create, we need to do better, and that applies to everyone, not just Eoin Doyle,” he told The Bolton News.
“Being at a football club like this, with the size of the fanbase, we are all under pressure, all of the time. It is just part of it.
“I am experienced enough, and Doyler certainly is, to take it on the chin and have that calm confidence that you will prove people right, or wrong.
“You are never going to be liked by everybody. It is just one of those industries where someone will hold an opinion about you, and it might be negative.
“But as long as you believe in yourself it is all that matters. At some stage it can’t be about words anymore, though, actions are the only thing that people will understand.”
Kachunga’s struggle with form has been played out publicly because of the lack of replacements, and the former Huddersfield Town man will most likely lead the line at Rochdale tonight in an effort to turn his luck around.
“He needs a goal, he needs to step up,” Evatt said. “He needs a performance. We all want that.
“Football is one of those games where you are always looking at the next thing – and I am the worst for it because I talk us up all the time. But I do that for a very specific reason.
“It is not because I am some sort of ego-maniac, I love myself and I love my team, I do it so we all have some belief in ourselves. Without believing you can be the very best, what is the point in turning up?
“We have said plenty about the type of team we can be. Right now, it is time to keep calm and composed, and show people with our actions what we can do.”