Evatt: We Needed That

Ian Evatt welcomed back the winning feeling as Wanderers cruised to victory at Rochdale to book their place in the knock-out stages of the Papa John’s Trophy.

Evatt picked a strong side for the Whites’ final Group D fixture.

And they responded with an impressive 3-0 success to end a five-match winless run.

Dapo Afolayan set the tone with a superb strike to move to nine goals for the season.

And with Declan John and an Eoin Doyle penalty effectively wrapping up victory over League Two Dale before half-time, Evatt is now looking to kick on and re-ignite the Whites’ campaign.

“That was more like it. We’ve had a really bad month but this is a new month and a new start and a new opportunity to put a run together,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“We have hurt the last month. We have all been smarting and we need to come out fighting and showing what we can really do and I thought we were excellent.

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“We’ve had a really bad month but it’s only been a month. It doesn’t define our season.

“What we do from here on in will define our season and hopefully this is the start of a new run.”

Evatt made just three changes to the side that was beaten at Portsmouth last weekend as Wanderers showed their intent.

And as well as a potent attacking performance, Evatt’s men also chalked up a first clean sheet in close to two months to take into Sunday’s FA Cup first-round tie at home to Stockport County.  

“Dapo’s goal really settled everyone down and after that I thought we were outstanding,” Evatt added.

“We need confidence, we need belief and we need to win football matches.

“Our players need to feel what it feels like to win again. Our attitude and application was brilliant but this is one win.

“We have got a lot to make up for and it’s onto Sunday now.”

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Wanderers ticked almost every box on a productive night which also featured the welcome return from long-term injury of defender Liam Edwards as a late substitute.

“For me that’s the biggest plus point,” said Evatt.

“We have all suffered in the last month and felt sorry for ourselves.

“But that lad has been out for 23 months; 23 months without stepping on the grass, stepping on the football pitch.

“To show the mentality he has and the desire to get himself back fit and available and ready for selection he deserves that. I’m really proud of him.”

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