Evatt: We Know This Is A Key Period

Ian Evatt is hoping to join the movers and shakers as he faces a Christmas get-together with his first club.

Wanderers play the first of three games in seven days when they face Derby County in a Christmas cracker at the University of Bolton Stadium on Tuesday afternoon (3pm).

The televised fixture kicks off a busy schedule of nine games inside the next month for Evatt’s men, starting with a run of games against most of the Whites’ top-six rivals.

And the Wanderers’ boss is hoping to make it count as his side returns to action on the back of a home win over Exeter City in their last game before Christmas which kept them nicely placed in fifth in the League One table.

“We know this a key period. The festive period is always for the movers and shakers, really,” said Evatt.

“If you can go on a good run you tend to move positions really quickly and gain momentum and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.

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“It’s a huge four or five weeks really. We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves but it’s seven games now, with six against teams in and around us immediately.

“It’s a challenging period but one we’re embracing and looking forward to, to hopefully show the best version of ourselves.

“I think it will be a good start (against Derby) and a good game against a very good team.

“I think both teams have had a decent record over the last six or seven games. We respect them completely. But, like always, we’ll focus on ourselves and try and implement our game plan on the opposition.”

While Wanderers have lost just once in their last six games, Derby are an unbeaten eight-game run in League One under former Rotherham boss Paul Warne.

That has propelled the Rams into the play-off zone – one place behind Wanderers.

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And while out to do them no favours on Bank Holiday Tuesday, Evatt is pleased to see the club where he launched his playing career as a teenager in the Premier League joining the Whites in heading back in the right direction.

“That club almost brought me up,” added Evatt, who was given a debut by legendary former County boss Jim Smith at the end of the 2000/01 season.

“I was there from 11 years old to 21. I spent most of my school holidays there, living with families and training with the youth team and then onto the first team.

“They gave me a fantastic football education. I learned so much.

“It’s a brilliant club with a brilliant fan base and I’m really excited to be taking them on as a manager.

“I have a huge amount of admiration for them. I think they’ve got the right manager in place to get them back on a sound and solid footing and get them promoted out of this division and I wish them every success – apart from this game.”

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