Ian Evatt is looking to end the Papa John Trophy hopes of his former club and keep Wanderers on the road to Wembley.
Evatt’s men are aiming for a place in the last 16 of the competition when they face Barrow AFC at the University of Bolton Stadium tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Whites’ boss launched his managerial career with the Bluebirds in June, 2018 and after guiding them to the National League title and a long-awaited EFL return two years later is now hoping to land further honours with Wanderers.
“It’s a game probably close to my heart as well. I have such fond memories of that place and that football club,” said Evatt, who replicated Barrow’s promotion triumph in his first season in charge of Wanderers.
“It’s a brilliant football club and I’m so pleased they are doing so well.
“I’m delighted for the owners, the town, the community and for Pete Wild, who is doing a brilliant job in making them a competitive team at the top end of League Two.
“It’s going to be a really challenging game for us but one I’m looking forward to.
“Any time you get an opportunity to play a cup final at Wembley you should look to try and grasp it with both hands.
“I was really fortunate to be able to do that a few times in my career and the players will be making sure they are ultra-competitive and ready to go with the right attitude, the right energy and the right quality, hopefully. Fingers crossed we can progress.”
Wanderers face Barrow – whose weekend victory over Hartlepool United lifted them to fourth place in League Two – on the back of an impressive win of their own thanks to Saturday’s dramatic 2-1 success at Fleetwood Town.
A run of just one defeat in their last six League One games has propelled Evatt’s side back into the play-off places.
And the manager looks set to name another powerful starting line-up in a bid to keep the momentum going on two fronts by reaching the last 16 of the Trophy for the second year running.
“The positive for me at the moment is that whatever team I pick, it looks a really strong team on paper,” added Evatt, whose side topped their group in qualifying.
“We’ve got people back available. Demps (Kyle Dempsey) is back available and obviously MJ (Williams) was back on Saturday.
“Whatever team I select I believe will be good enough to win the game, but it’s not going to be easy because they’re a really good team who’ve done some really good things this season.”
Tickets for the game are available HERE at just £10 for adults and £5 for over-65s and under-18s.