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'Keep the faith' - Ian Evatt calls for home backing in crunch Reading clash

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

'Keep the faith' - Ian Evatt calls for home backing in crunch Reading clash 17690149

Ian Evatt wants to crank up the pressure on Derby County by giving a performance of promotion quality against Reading.

Wanderers can move themselves to within three points of the Rams with the right result this afternoon – as Paul Warne’s second-placed side head to play against league leaders Portsmouth at Fratton Park tomorrow night.

Evatt knows he needs a favour from Pompey and that his team will need to improve considerably on their fruitless outing at Stevenage on Good Friday.

But with more than 24,000 supporters taking advantage of reduced ticket prices at the Toughsheet Stadium, the Bolton boss is also looking for some help from the club’s fans too.

“We know we have to be better,” he told The Bolton News. “And I’d just say to everyone to stick with us, to keep faith.

“We have seen this season how unpredictable results can be – I mean, nobody would have thought Carlisle would beat Peterborough, or Cambridge would go to Barnsley and win. Things happen.

“We have four out of six at home now and we can get the gap to three points if we beat Reading before their game on Tuesday, with our extra game. And that levels things out again if what we need to happen, happens.

“It is slightly reliant on the opposition, of course, but I think if we win six games we get promoted, I genuinely believe that.

“The type of league this is, it is challenging to win that many games and they are not all going to do it. That has to be our aim.

“Stevenage was arguably our most difficult game of the final seven. And I think the Peterborough one will suit us more, I really do.

“We will have an expectant crowd on Monday but hopefully one that gets behind us, supports the team, makes it an intimidating atmosphere. And then some of that cavalry will return, and that will make a difference.”

Wanderers suffered at Stevenage after creating little in a tight game, fought on a sticky pitch in blustery winds.

Conditions will be more to their liking on home turf but they come up against a Royals team who beat Northampton Town in their last game and who have rallied this season despite the backdrop of major ownership issues, fan protests and EFL points deductions.

Evatt hopes his own players can embrace the promotion pressure and play the type of football which put Oxford United to the sword in their last home game.

“The attitude needs to come from everyone,” he said. “Nobody is going to give us promotion, and as things stand it isn’t ours to lose, we need to go and take it.

“The type of team we are, we need to be attacking, front-footed, fearless, we want to provoke pressure and then move the ball quickly. But I honestly thought we were pedestrian (at Stevenage). It was safe and that isn’t us.

“We came away with a point and now it puts pressure on those final six games, and definitely on Monday.”


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