Ian Evatt on Burton Albion’s pitch condition ahead of Bolton Wanderers trip and team selection

Ian Evatt will check the condition of Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium pitch and the weather forecast before committing to picking his Bolton Wanderers starting team.

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:Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt on Burton Albion, Marlon Fossey and fan message after seven unbeaten

Wanderers are 10th in the table as things stand and could narrow an eight point gap to the top six with victory tomorrow evening.

Images have circulated on social media on the state of the pitch at the Pirelli Stadium which perhaps is not at its optimum level at present.

The Brewers played Cambridge United on Saturday before Leicester City Women took on West Ham United Women the following day in the Women’s Super League.

The UK is poised to be hit this week by two storms named Dudley and Eunice, with rain poised to fall in Burton this morning and in the evening.

Wanderers have played in inclement weather on several occasions already this season, including on the road against Plymouth Argyle, Morecambe and Fleetwood Town and Evatt believes lessons have been learned from those encounters on how to approach them.

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While he will wait before making a final decision on his team selection, Evatt feels Wanderers very st strike a balance with their playing style and perhaps be more direct than normal in order to pick up a result.

The Bolton boss said: “I think we have learned some lessons from Morecambe, from Plymouth, from Fleetwood. We need to be a more solid team and maybe approach these games with more direct football than we would usually play.

“I think we have added a few more strings to our bow with the recruitment in January, and we now have Baka back in one piece, which gives us another great option.

“I don’t know if Michael Fish is still around but whoever else it is I’ll be checking out the weather forecasts and going to see the surface myself tomorrow morning before I commit to picking any particular team.

“It is then my job to get the balance right and find a way to win.

“We have to find the right balance. If we go to Burton trying to smash it long and win second balls, play them at that game on their own patch, then we will lose. We are not built for it.

“There are ways and means. We have to be smart with our work.

“I watched a good deal of Burton yesterday and this morning and there are a lot of long throws, set plays, and it can be difficult to deal with the number of bodies they throw forward. But we have to be calm and make sure we take opportunities going the other way.

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“This type of game is more about mindset and confidence than anything else. You know what is coming but if you prepare for it in the right way then there is no reason why we can’t get the right result.”

Wanderers came from behind twice over the weekend on the road on the route to three points versus Oxford United.

With the players he now has at his disposal, Evatt feels that Wanderers can score a goal in a matter of moments and that they are now always in games and why they now do not panic if they go behind in encounters.

He said: “Saturday was a fantastic game and I think everyone recognized the standard on show there but what pleased me the most was the spirit in the group, and namely the fact we always feel we can score a goal. We are always in a game.

“Even when we have a quiet spell, which happens, we have players who can change things in the blink of an eye, and we haven’t necessarily had that in the past.

“We were behind twice on Saturday and came back quickly. That shows personality.

“Second half we stayed strong, kept belief, and scored what I thought was a wonderful goal.

“It comes down to goalscoring. If you feel you can get a goal at any point, you can out-score the opposition, then there is no reason to panic.

“I have said to the players a lot lately that if ever we lose a game it is because we have run out of time, not because we were beaten. We have to have that belief that we will get something if we keep going, finding the opportunities.

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“Manchester City apart – and they haven’t had a centre-forward for two years but still score hundreds of goals – teams need centre-forwards and goal-scorers to function. They need to carry a threat.

“Oxford on Saturday carried that threat. We did too. Nobody really knew which way that game was going to go and it is a good feeling that we can score at the drop of a hat.”


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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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