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Evatt Keen To Land First Blow

Boss wants opening goal and insists there's still plenty to play for

8 April 2022

Ian Evatt wants his side to draw first blood when they take on another promotion-chaser.

Wanderers haven’t lost a League One game this season when they have opened the scoring.

And Evatt’s men will be looking to extend that record and avoid the need for another fightback when they entertain fifth-placed Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

“The big games – against the top 10 teams – we haven’t scored first enough in those games,” admitted the Wanderers’ boss whose side trailed to Portsmouth, Wigan and Plymouth in three of their last four fixtures.

“We’ve gone behind and you can’t afford to chase the game against these big teams.

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“The games we have scored first in – Ipswich and Sunderland (at home) for instance – we’ve gone on to win and win well.

“Once we get our noses in front we’re a difficult team to beat. But we have to get our noses in front and too often this season we’ve not managed to do that.

“That’s a lesson to be learned. There are lots of things to learn but the season’s not over yet. There’s lots to play for and we want to finish with momentum.

“I think we’ve lost three games since the middle of January, which is exceptional, really, and we have to carry that on for the remainder of the season.”

Wanderers battled back to take points from Wigan and Pompey in 1-1 draws as they again proved their mettle and determination not to accept defeat.

With a number of injury absentees – including skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos, Dapo Afolayan and Kyle Dempsey – the Whites face another major test against a Wednesday side sitting fifth in League One as they look to bounce straight back to the Championship.

But while the play-offs may now be out of reach for 11th-placed Wanderers, Evatt insists there will be no easing up.

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“It’s maybe a marker as to how far we’ve come that we’ve drawn against Wigan, who are top of the league, and Portsmouth, who are a big club in their own right and in the top 10, and we feel disappointed,” he added.

“It’s another big game to come on Saturday and I expect us to be competitive, regardless of what team we can put out.

“This a huge football club that is heading one way. While it looks like we haven’t got a lot to play for you have always got something to play for.

“There’s an expectancy at this football club to win and we’re in the business of winning.

“This is football and you’re expected to perform week-in and week-out.

“This club has lofty ambitions. We had a very good January window and we’ve also got a summer window coming up.

“These players need to show they are able to able to kick on with this club and they’ve got to perform accordingly.”

Watch the manager's pre-match interview HERE

Tickets for the game against Wednesday are still available, with details HERE


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