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Evatt: A Big Step Forward

Boss delighted with performance and outcome as Wanderers enjoy friendly win over Watford

12 July 2022

Ian Evatt embraced a major step forward in Wanderers’ pre-season preparations as his side beat Championship outfit Watford.

The Whites produced their best pre-season performance to date – and their third win – as first-half goals from Kieran Lee and Dapo Afolayan secured a 2-0 success at the Hornets’ London Colney training ground.

Wanderers superbly handled the steamy weather and a strong Watford side re-grouping under new Rob Edwards after relegation from the Premier League last season.

And Evatt was delighted with the outcome on the back of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to further Championship opposition in the shape of Wigan Athletic.

“After how we played on Saturday to not get the win was disappointing,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“But today we got that victory which we deserved.

“I thought in the first half in particular we were excellent. The way we moved the ball and dominated the ball caused them no end of problems.

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“The second goal was as good as you’ll see at any level.

“And our pressing strategy was perfect, especially in these hot conditions.”

Evatt – who gave three of his outfield players 90 minutes as he continues to build up game-time ahead of the League One opener at the end of the month – added: “I thought it was excellent. I’m not going to get carried away but it was a big step forwards.

“I know Rob really well and they are going to be well coached. There were some big names on that team sheet who are hugely valuable players.

“It was a good test for us but I thought we embraced that and had the right energy and attitude in really hot and humid conditions was excellent. I’m really proud of the players today.”

The game was the last of Wanderers’ scheduled training-ground games in their pre-season programme.

And Evatt is now looking forward to a trip to Carlisle United on Saturday to continue the public preparations.

“We’ve had three good tests behind closed doors now but nothing can replicate the stadium and fans,” he said.

“We’re excited to go and play in front of fans on Saturday. It’s another completely different challenge and test and we just want to see another step forward.”


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