Ian Evatt believes Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is beginning to get fully up to speed at Bolton Wanderers and is adamant that things will start going fellow striker Dion Charles’ way again as his goal drought continued.
Dapo Afolayan put the hosts in front before half-time against Accrington Stanley at the University of Bolton Stadium with his 14th strike of the season as Wanderers went in leading at the break yesterday on Easter Monday.
Jay Rich-Baghuelou leveled for the visitors early in the second half before Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came off the bench to fire Wanderers back in front.
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Accrington had a goal for Tommy Leigh ruled out for offside before they were reduced to 10 men after Rosaire Longelo was shown a straight red card for fouling Aaron Morley, before Bodvarsson scored his second to wrap up the three points for Wanderers in a 3-1 victory.
Bodvarsson has scored six goals for Wanderers since joining in the January transfer window as he bagged his first brace for the club.
Charles meanwhile has not scored since mid February after scoring six times in his opening 10 League One games since moving from yesterday’s opponents Accrington in January.
Evatt believes Bodvarsson is an example to all in the forward group at the club and that though things are not going Charles’ way right now, they will in time.
He said: ““He’s (Bodvarsson) a wonderful man. He’s a really, really good guy, a great pro, a really nice guy and the lads have really taken to him and he’s now starting to get fully up to speed and I think today when he came on and Friday he was absolutely brilliant. Led the line superbly, a fine example to everybody and we’ve got different options now.
“At the moment it’s not quite going Dion’s way but we know it will. He’s just got to relax and then goals will come naturally again. Baka (Amadou Bakayoko) is Baka and does great things for us. We’ve got Dapo that’s scored again today and Kacha (Elias Kachunga), we’ve got a really good group of forward players.
“We’ll improve again in the summer and for now it’s just hard work, focus and make sure we carry this momentum through to next season.
“That’s the belief that strikers give you really when you’ve got forward players that you know can score, it doesn’t really matter if the opposition score. The opposition are allowed to score against you, it happens in football and it is about how emotional you get and how you cope with it and I thought we’ve managed now to deal with our emotions a lot better.
“We’re coping with it a lot better and we’re staying and sticking to the plan and to get the second goal, Jon’s second goal was an outstanding finish and then the third one is really pleasing but we’ve got that confidence now that we can score at any point and especially late on in games, it isn’t a coincidence, we keep scoring late.
“You saw how fatigued and tired they were at the end. Yes, they had 10 men for the late five minutes, but before that you could see them starting to fatigue and spaces were starting to open up and then when you’ve got players that can come and affect it off the bench, regardless of who I start, it’s a real bonus for us.”
More than 19,000 fans turned up at the University of Bolton Stadium yesterday in the second family day the club has held this season, with cheap ticket prices helping to boost the crowd numbers on the bank holiday weekend.
Evatt admitted his side has played better than they have done in yesterday’s encounter but he believes the connection with the fanbase has been well and truly built and he is ‘immensely proud’ of what is happening on and off the pitch at Wanderers.
He said: “We can play better than that but they’ve seen the team win which is good and they’ve seen that what we’re trying to do is the right things fundamentally and as a football club, I’m immensely proud of what we’re doing on and off the pitch.
“I think the connection again with our fanbase, the young fans and seeing them wearing Bolton kits is what matters to me and us in the community and we’re building that all the time and now we’re getting out of the other side of the pandemic and Covid, we’re able to get in and around the community and the town and really sell our brand and identity and that starts from Sharon (Brittan) and filters down throughout the club.
“It’s a great place and a great place to work and a great place to be involved in. I’m really pleased and immensely proud that I’ve got the job I have.
“I’m really appreciative of it and we’ll do the best we can to get this club back where it belongs.”