Ian Evatt is relishing a test against the ‘best’ as Wanderers aim to slow Sunderland’s promotion push and continue their own climb up the League One table.
The Wearsiders come to the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday sitting second in the table, behind leaders Wigan on goal difference.
Wanderers’ boss Evatt rates the Black Cats highly but has seen his own team rediscover its form with back-to-back wins.
And with the new faces in the Whites’ squad quickly gelling, he is looking forward to the task of trying to make it hat-trick of victories by handing Sunderland only a second league defeat since early November in a mouth-watering clash.
“There’ll be a big crowd here, a big travelling support, two good teams, Sunderland flying high in this division and a great game of football to look forward to,” said Evatt.
“It’s a good test – a good marker. Sunderland, for me at the moment, are the best footballing team in the league and I think it will be a good challenge.
“They’re not top of the league at the moment but I don’t think they will be far away come the end of season.
“I’m looking forward to a tactical and technical battle but we have to make sure we’re at the top of our game because they’re a very good team.
“It’s as tough as it gets for us but we just need to concentrate on our own performance levels and see gradual improvements from last week.”
Wanderers struck late at Shrewsbury last weekend with Dion Charles’ superb first goal for the club earning three points on the back of a second successive clean sheet.
The result lifted the Whites up to 15th in the table and with the visit of Sunderland kicking off a run of nine games in four weeks for Evatt’s men, the opportunity is there to make rapid strides forward.
“We’re pleased with the last couple of results. We’re trying to rekindle our season a little bit,” added Evatt, who could give recent recruit Jon Dadi Bodvarsson a home debut at some point against a Black Cats side who have been busy in the transfer market themselves.
“There’s loads more improvement to come. Obviously they were two good results and if you look at both teams we beat and their results pre and post, they are two excellent wins.
“Especially away from home getting that monkey off our back and beating Ipswich, who were in red-hot form, at home.
“We are trying to re-vamp our season and go again and hopefully we can get some good results and push our way back into that top half.”
To watch the manager’s pre-match interview, click HERE
To buy tickets for the match, click HERE