Bolton Wanderers are aiming to go eight games unbeaten in League One when they take on Burton Albion tomorrow evening.
In a match that ought to have taken place over the festive period but was shelved due to positive coronavirus tests in both camps, Wanderers will travel to the Pirelli Stadium for a 7.45pm kick-off.
Bolton are seven games unbeaten in the third tier of English football and were in action on Saturday when they secured an impressive 3-2 victory over Oxford United, coming from behind twice in the process.
READMORE:Karl Robinson comment inspired Bolton Wanderers to Oxford United win as Burton Albion previewed
Wanderers are 10th in the table as things stand and could narrow an eight point gap to the top six with victory tomorrow evening.
Ahead of the game, Wanderers boss Ian Evatt spoke to the press and here’s what he had to say to broadcasters.
You must be delighted with the way things have progressed in the last few weeks?
“I’m obviously pleased, we’ve come a long way in a short space of time. Things have improved drastically but we’re still nowhere near where we want to be. We’ve got a lot of time to make up. I think we could just probably repeat some of my press from last year to be honest because our margin for error is little.
“We have still got a margin for error but not a great deal. We’ve got to continue winning football matches and we’ve got three big games coming up now, two home games and a challenge tomorrow which will be a completely different game to what Oxford was.”
Lots have been said over the past few days about Bolton Wanderers – what do you say to the Wanderers fans, can they dare to dream?
“For now I think we should just enjoy the run that we’re on and enjoy some of our football and performances. We’ve suffered a bit this season and you have to enjoy these spells when they come because it’s not easy winning football matches, certainly not easy consistently winning at this level, so for now it’s just keep our focus, keep our minds on the job .
“Keep working hard on the training ground when we can, keep doing our visual learning with the video analysis that we can do and then every game can throw up a different challenge and we have to pick the right team for the right challenge and that’s my job.”
What’s the latest on potential unavailability from Saturday’s game?
“None apart from Kieran. Kieran will go and see a specialist about this heel spur he’s got and we will see if we can get him through to the summer or not. It’s not looking very promising.
“It’s not a major issue – it’s just something that needs shaving and sorting out, which will be a two to three month injury. So if he has done that now and he’s not able to continue, then obviously we won’t see him again until the summer. But we’ll refer to the specialist, see what his advice from him is and go from there.
How do you go about trying to keep everybody on side, there’s a great togetherness but everybody won’t be happy in terms of the players not playing and the competition for places?
“I understand that and it is challenging but what I will say so far is they’ve all bought in to what we’re trying to do. They understand that there’s good players surrounding them now and it’s horses for courses.
“It makes it easier to keep them happy when you’re consistently winning because their argument is little to none. It’s when the results don’t start going our way and they’re not in the team, that’s when it can become more challenging, but as I keep saying, this is a squad game now, it’s not about an individual, it’s not about 11 players.
“To get through this division, you need everybody and we have to utilize that squad. We’ve built a really strong one now, we feel, so we’re looking forward to the games coming up.”
How is Marlon Fossey after his acrobatic goal celebration?
“He’s done a quadruple one this morning so he’s good as gold! He’s fine. We’ve got to keep whispering it quietly about Marlon if we want any chance of keeping him and we’ve got to keep flying under the radar.
“The main thing for him is that I made him some promises before he came, I told him that he would really enjoy his football and he’d be playing in a very good team and the fans would really take to the style of play that he gives us.
“Everything has come to fruition. We’ve just got to hope now that we keep progressing and keep doing well and he enjoys his time so much that he wants to stay. But for now, we’re lucky to have him and we’ll keep enjoying what he’s doing week to week.”
Declan John appeared at the start of 2022 that fans wondered is he right for this level but the work that he’s put in the last six weeks in the change of system and formation would appear to have benefited him more than any other player?
“Well let me tell you Declan is more than good enough for this level and higher. Everyone suffers with loss of form, and it can be challenging sometimes but we have strong belief in Declan. We know what a good player he is and what he’s capable of and we knew that when he hits a good run of form he’ll show everybody what he can do and I think that’s what we’re seeing right now.
“These players have challenging times on and off the pitch and they need supporting and when they go through bad spells, they need supporting. It’s difficult to play week in, week out and play well, I don’t think there’s any player in the world that can do it other than probably your superstars and even them, like Cristiano (Ronaldo) at the moment, is having a bit of a lull.
“It can happen and we have to support them, we have to back them and give them the confidence and belief to keep doing the right things and eventually, it changes and as we’ve seen with Declan, it has and the rest of the team in general.”
It seems that when the team has been through the bad spells and in this good spell, everyone is flying?
“The bad spells shape who and what you are. In adversity it’s the mark of every human really how they come out of it and how they learn from it and how they progress and I think that’s what we’ve tried to do. In the face of adversity and believe me, since I’ve been a manager and not only Bolton’s manager, I’ve been faced with adversity.
“In my whole life in general, I’ve come through lots of adversity and it really does shape who you are and it’s part of the journey and when you come out the other side, you have to enjoy the good moments as well, but it’s equally important that you don’t get too high or too low in the good or bad spells.
“You have to keep some equilibrium, keep yourself on the right path, keep doing the right things, trust the process and eventually you’ll get the right results and I think that’s what we’ve all done.”
What are you and the coaching staff doing to make sure that equilibrium is kept in this good run of form?
“We’re hungry for more. We have got an appetite for these things since last year. We remember some of the bad spells that we’ve been on this season and there’s been two significant ones and they leave their mark, so they keep that hunger and desire there.
“No one is resting on their laurels, there’s no overconfidence, we are a confident group, I’m a confident man, but you shouldn’t mistake that confidence for arrogance. It’s not, we’re humble, we’re hardworking and we believe in ourselves and hopefully we’re seeing the fruits of that now.”
Big game against Burton Albion tomorrow and how much would you like to make it back to back away wins?
“Obviously that goes without saying and as I said before Saturday, this game poses a completely different challenge to what Oxford did.
“We kind of already know the conditions we’re going to face, the pitch we’re going to face, I think there’s been enough pictures of the pitch flying around and I believe there was another game on it yesterday, so it’s not going It comes down to picking the right team for the right game.
“Luckily for us now we’ve got some good options and hopefully we can go there and find a way to get the right result.”