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Evatt looks for 'same again' at Derby County

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Evatt looks for 'same again' at Derby County 17854233

Wanderers have been urged to dig deep at Derby County for one final push before the international break.

A marathon run of 22 games in 75 days comes to an end at Pride Park this weekend, with the Whites still able to jump above their hosts into second spot with the right result.

Ian Evatt’s target for several weeks has been to ensure his side are within striking distance of the Rams, which he may feel is the case regardless of the outcome on Saturday.

But if his team can match the performance levels they reached in a morale-boosting 5-0 rout of Oxford United in midweek, Evatt insists anything is possible.

“We know the importance of the game, we know how well we have just played, and that has to be the target now,” he said.

“Everything we do is underpinned by hard work. The nice stuff is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top. But nothing works without that desire, the aggressive and intense press all over the pitch.

“That gave us the foundation against Oxford who just couldn’t link any passes together and get out, and they are a possession-based team themselves.

“It was great to see us play with such fluidity and confidence when we had the ball, it has been an incredibly tough run, we have had nine weeks of Saturday-Tuesday games, which would be challenging for any team, any squad in the land, let alone with the injuries we have sustained along the way.

"I am proud of the players to still be in the mix. There is a lot of football still to be played but we are giving ourselves an opportunity. Now let’s finish this block of fixtures with another strong performance at Derby.”

Josh Sheehan celebrated a man of the match display on Tuesday night with a call-up to the Wales squad for their forthcoming Euro 2024 play-off against Finland, then either Poland or Estonia.

Evatt believes his midfield trio of Sheehan, George Thomason and Paris Maghoma stood out against Oxford in one of the most impressive results of his managerial reign.

“Josh was excellent, and that midfield three in particular was so fluid with the movements, rotations, there was incisive passing and they made good decisions but they were good out of possession as well,” he said.

“It was a good team performance. That is what I like to see.

“It was great for Joel Coleman to get a clean sheet, that will do his confidence the world of good, and for us now it is on to the next one.”

Thomason and Aaron Collins both claimed the third goal against the U’s – the former getting credit on most news sources.

Collins also revealed on social media that the shot had bounced off his backside and past keeper Jamie Cumming but Evatt is unconvinced.

“Aaron is trying to claim it but I had a good look at it and I think it’s George’s goal,” he smiled.

“I will let those two to argue it out. It is just nice for us to score a scrappy deflection rather than us have to link 19-20 passes together.”


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