Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt on Morecambe, message to fans for run-in & Cole Stockton threat

Bolton Wanderers will be aiming to secure back-to-back wins in League One when they take on Morecambe.

Wanderers return to the University of Bolton Stadium after successive away games and are seeking to keep their push for the play-offs alive.

Bolton returned to winning ways over the weekend with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Priestfield over relegation-threatened Gillingham.

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And Wanderers are at home for the first time in the space of five days when they take on the Shrimps in an 8pm kick-off, another side battling for survival in League One.

Ahead of the game, Bolton boss Ian Evatt spoke to the media at a pre-match press conference and here’s a transcript of what he had to say to broadcasters.

You must be glad to be back at home as the recent form here has been really good?

“Yes it has, but that’s gone now. We’ve got 10 games left and six of those are at home and we want to try and win all of our home games and if we can and we can nick things away from home, it gives us a chance but we’re not resting on our laurels.

“We know there’s work to do, we know there’s improvement to come and that starts tomorrow night.”

Two home games on the spin, so you’d like to think there’s an advantage there?

“Yes, but only if we make it that way. We have to concentrate on our performances and make sure we keep doing the right things and listening, learning and improving and then we really need the fans to make this a cauldron really and a really intimidating atmosphere and if they can do that for us and we can perform for them, that marriage can really hurt opponents and cause them problems.”

On the subject of doing the right things, you felt you didn’t score enough goals at Gillingham, but overall the performance was very pleasing?

“For me that was what we’re about, that is everything that we try and implement on the training ground. That is hard work, that is learning. Myself and the rest of the staff will draw the outline but the players have to go on and paint the picture and I thought what they painted on Saturday was exceptional, but we’ve still got work to do.

“We’ve still got improvement to come. That is the most fluid we’ve been for a long, long time, probably since I’ve been at the club to be honest, but there’s loads more to come.”

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How important is it to adopt the right style to you?

“Football is one of those games where everybody has opinions and probably everybody sees things differently and there’s no right or wrong way. I’m not saying what we’re doing is right because if it was 100 per cent proof that you’re going to win every game by playing this way then everybody would do it.

“But it’s how you see the game, it’s how you think it should be played and I think in my opinion and what I’m trying to bring to this football club, that’s what we’re trying to do and I think everybody enjoyed watching Item.

“I’m sure you guys (the media) did, I’m sure our fans did and their fans were very complimentary after the game, so that’s what we’re about, but performances bring points and we have to continue with those performances .”

Everybody knows what happened last time at Morecambe – has that placed any different type of significance on the game?

“What happened is still being dealt with by the authorities. It’s certainly not forgotten and we just want to focus on ourselves and focus on performing and getting the points.

“We’ve got lots of work to do, we’ve got a bigger picture here and they’re fighting for their lives trying to stay up and we want to try and make sure we try and perform the same way as what we did on Saturday, so our focus is fully on what we’re doing and how we beat them.”

Squad wise, any issues?

“Kyle is back in. He was ill as well as a slight groin injury last week. The illness has now subsided but we do n’t know about his groin from him yet.

“We’re going to check him this morning and try to make sure he’s 100 per cent before we take any risks. Kacha (Elias Kachunga) will train again and everyone else is fine apart from obviously Gethin (Jones), who is still away .”

It seems the players got fluidity and trusting each other which was absent in the MK Dons game right at Gillingham?

“It was better. It shows the work we did in the week and some of the meetings we had. They took on the information and applied it very well on Saturday. That was more like us but I think there’s more to come and hopefully you’ll see that in the remaining 10 games.”

Did it surprise you to see Manchester City play so well against Manchester United or did you expect it from them, and could City’s performance could be applied to what you want to see from your own players?

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“We’re certainly not Man City even though I’d love us to be! I think you’re all well aware now of my regard that I hold Pep in. I think he’s the world’s best and it’s how I envisage the game should be played and I think Man City showed yesterday why they’re the best. United were very, very poor but City were excellent.

“Coaching and managing is about looking at fresh ideas, new ideas, old ideas and then interpreting them into your own methodology and trying to give the players new and fresh ideas. That’s what it is, that’s what we try and do, we’re always learning as coaches and managers.

“If you stand still in this game, you get found out really quickly, so we’re always trying to improve and watching that game yesterday, it was a joy to watch if you’re a Man City fan, but as a football connoisseur If we can learn anything from that, of course we will but fundamentally we’re a League One football team trying to be better than what we are right now.

“We’re trying to improve and I thought Saturday was an improvement but we’ve got 10 big games to go to try and get us to where we want to be.”

Is everyone in the squad alright at this stage?

“I’ve not heard anything this morning in terms of illness. I think we’re okay. In terms of Kyle’s illness he seems to be over it and he’s back in today.

“However, he did have a bit of a groin issue as well that he picked up on Tuesday. We’ll see how that settles and whether he’ll be involved tomorrow night, I don’t know yet, but everyone else’s injury- wise is okay at the moment.”

It appears as though all over the pitch, everyone who wants to contribute is contributing and that should stand Bolton in good stead in terms of getting goals?

“Everyone is contributing apart from Rico, I wish he’d start! But other than that, we have a shared responsibility to score goals. It’s not just the strikers, the same as defending really. It’s a team game and everyone has to share that responsibility. It was great to see Aaron get his first goal from him and what a first goal it was on Saturday.

“Jon is now starting to hit the ground running. We’ve got other players in form, Bakayoko’s scoring, Dion’s getting chances and we’d back him to take the ones he got on Saturday in any other game. It’s positive but we’ re not getting carried away and we’ve got lots of hard work to do and we want to carry on this good feeling that we’ve got at the moment.”

Is there anything you can say to temper Bolton fans’ expectations in the final 10 games?

“What I will say is we’ve got 10 huge games, six at home, and we just want to create the best possible atmosphere we can here and if they can do that and help us with the atmosphere, then it can help make it more difficult for the opposition. One thing’s for sure that we have to all enjoy it.

“We have to all enjoy the run-in, we have to all enjoy the way we’re playing at the moment, we have to enjoy that we’ve given ourselves some stability and a platform to improve from, but people have to remember that although we’re a huge club and this is Bolton Wanderers, we are a newly promoted team.

“It takes time to challenge at the top end of these divisions. You’ve seen it with the likes of Sunderland and other clubs that have been in this division for a while now, it’s tough to get out of.

“We’re going to do our very best and give it our best shot but for me, the most important thing is that we enjoy it. We have a smile on our face and we try and perform the best that we can.”

What have you made of the managerial situation at Morecambe since the last meeting?

“Each to their own, whatever has happened there has happened. I’ve got no interest in speaking about them.”

What can Bolton do to try and nullify whatever threats they may have, such as Cole Stockton?

“He’s one of the league’s best goalscorers. He’s a good player is Cole. We know a fair bit about him. He is a player that we know from last season and this season.

“He’s scored a lot of goals so he’s one to be aware of. They’ve got some good players, they’re going to be well organized and it’s going to be a challenging game, but we have to focus on ourselves, our own performance levels and do the best that we can.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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