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'Write me off at your peril!' - Bullish Ian Evatt's firm Bolton Wanderers message to doubters

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 19/11/2021 John McDougall

Ian Evatt has a firm message for anyone who is thinking of writing him off at Bolton Wanderers - to do so at their peril - as he aims for a resurgence from his players in the coming weeks.

Wanderers sit 11th in League One at present and take on Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow at Adams Park.

Bolton returned to winning ways in the division recently with last week's victory over Crewe Alexandra and they sit six points from the play-offs as things stand going into the weekend.

READ MORE: Ricardo Santos breaks Bolton Wanderers dressing room silence after shock Stockport County loss

They had built up some momentum in their season again following a win over Rochdale in the Papa John's Trophy and a draw against Stockport County in the FA Cup first round.

But Wanderers delivered the worst performance of Evatt's time in charge of the club, he felt, in the replay against the Hatters on Wednesday as the National League side won 5-3 at Edgeley Park.

Bolton head to Adams Park tomorrow to take on Wycombe Wanderers and Evatt is targeting a response from the loss in it after admitting Wanderers lost some focus in light of last weekend's win over Crewe and the legends charity match on Sunday.

In retrospect, Evatt was not surprised by the performance at Edgeley Park from his side as the Bolton boss reflected on difficult times already in his relatively short tenure in the job.

He wants to see a better performance from his side on Saturday and believes his team must make sure they are in the pack for the play-offs by the time January comes around.

And having been written off in the past in his career, Evatt has a firm message to those who doubt him and who he admits he loves proving wrong.

He told the Manchester Evening News: "I love being written off, personally. I was written off my whole career and still had a fantastic one. I was written off at Barrow and won promotion, I’ve been written off here and won promotion.

"Write me off at your peril is what I’d say because I always come out swinging, and I know my players will as well. Football seasons are a long time, we’ve got lots of points to play for. Now we have to stay calm and focuses, make sure we’re in the pack come January and we’ll see what that brings.

"Having watched them train Monday and Tuesday, was I surprised? No. I just felt like because of the fantastic weekend we’d had, we’d kind of lost our focus a little bit. We’d come away from what we are and we were very relaxed, which is great, but we didn’t have that killer edge, that eye of the tiger so to speak.

"The game was always going to be that way last night. It was going to be a full house, it’s quite a tight pitch, they were going to make it difficult for us.

"They did their best to give us the game as well – they gave us three goals more or less – and we still found a way to somehow lose it in extra time. That is unacceptable. The players understand that, I understand that. We have to be better.

"But this is football and things are always challenging. Even in my short tenure here we’ve been through so much – go back to last year conceding six at home to Port Vale and four away at Leyton Orient but still being promoted at the end of it.

"Football seasons are a long period of time, you can’t get too emotional on the back of one result. We had a poor October, we’ve come out of that and had some good results and now we’ve slipped back to another poor performance. It’s unforgiving, we have to forget it and respect that we weren’t good enough, but then challenge ourselves to be better this Saturday."

Today is Evatt's 40th birthday and the Wanderers boss joked he felt like felt closer to 50 after the events at Edgeley Park.

And he reiterated the desire to prove doubters wrong, as Wanderers proved last season with winning promotion out of League Two.

He added: "I think I’m now 40 tomorrow going on 50 after that game, but it’s football and it’s a really challenging business and you have to be a certain type of character to deal with the highs and the lows.

"Friday with the win, the weekend was magnificent, and then all of a sudden, someone just bursts your bubble and it’s back to square one again and we have to rebuild and go again.

"It’s just the nature of the beast but I love it and I’m addicted to it. You can call me a weirdo and whatever else you want to call me - I absolutely thrive on it and I love more than anything else being written off, I love it, because it gives me an opportunity to prove people wrong.

"We did that last year and we’re ready to do it again this year.”

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