Evatt: Whoever Is Captain Will Lead By Example

Ian Evatt is backing a new leader to emerge from the pack as Wanderers aim to head into Christmas firmly in the play-off picture.

The Whites know they will be in the top six on Christmas Day if they beat Exeter City at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday.

Evatt’s men will be seeking a seventh home League One win of the campaign and will go into action with a new man leading from the front as injuries continue to take their toll.

A muscle injury to Gethin Jones in Tuesday night’s Papa Johns Trophy win over Manchester United’s U21s will keep the defender out for a couple of weeks.

And with the vice-captain joining skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos on the sidelines as Santos continues to recover from illness, Evatt will have to name a new captain for the visit of the Grecians.

“It provides opportunities. And as much as the armband means something, we want to get to the stage where we’ve got 11,18, 24 leaders around the squad,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“That’s improving all of the time. Those leadership skills are different now to what they used to be.

“I don’t think the era of shouters and screamers is there anymore. You more have to lead by example in different ways and show empathy.

“We’ve got a lot of those. We’ve got a lot of players who are good people.

“I’m really proud to work with them all and whoever is captain on Saturday, I’m sure will lead by example.”

The absence of Jones and Santos has also stretched the Whites’ defensive resources.

But with Will Aimson coming back strongly in mid-week and Eoin Toal seizing his chance in recent weeks, Evatt still has options at his disposal.

“We’ve got a stronger squad this season, a deeper squad. This month it’s been tested and we’ve had to use it,” added Evatt, who is also without striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson until at least the visit of Derby County on 27 December following surgery on a broken nose and longer-term absentee George Thomason.

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“We’ve still got players available who are more than capable of doing the job and football always gives opportunities.

“It’s an opportunity for those who haven’t played so regularly to come into the team and show everybody what they can do.”

As well as eyeing the chance to climb to fourth in the table, Wanderers will also be looking to deliver some festive cheer to a bumper crowd at the UniBol.

The Whites are expecting a gate of close to 20,000 on another Family Day, with ticket prices reduced to £10 for adults and £5 for over-65s and under-18s in an effort to offer affordable football to the wider community.

“The phrase one club, one town, one community does really mean something to us,” said Evatt.

“We’ve always talked about getting young people and a new era of Bolton Wanderers’ fans back into the stadium and buying into what we’re trying to do.

“I think that’s been the case so I’m really proud to see lots of young kids here smiling, enjoying the football and hopefully we can get three points.”

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