Evatt Delighted With One Step Further On Wembley Way

Boss Ian Evatt praised the resilience of his side as they put themselves one step away from Wembley.

The Whites booked their place in the semi-finals of the Papa Johns Trophy with a 1-0 win over League One rivals Portsmouth, who will be back at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday as Wanderers continue their top-six quest.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s eighth goal of the season settled a gritty quarter-final tie as Wanderers extended their unbeaten run to seven games to keep alive the prospect of a first Wembley appearance for 12 years.

“We’ve got to win that game before we start thinking about Wembley but we’re another step closer which is pleasing for everybody,” said Evatt, whose side will find out their semi-final opponents on Saturday.

“It feels incredibly special but it’s no good to anyone if we don’t win the next game.

“We’ll focus on that when it comes but for now it’s all about the league and re-focusing for that.

“We’ve kept another clean sheet, which is great credit to everybody, and we’ll go again on Saturday.

“We can park this for a little bit and focus on the league.”

Wanderers are joined in the last four by fellow League One sides Plymouth Argyle, Cheltenham Town and Accrington Stanley.

The semi-final ties are scheduled to be played in the week starting 20 February with ties again played over one leg with no neutral venue.

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And Wanderers kept themselves in the hunt to win the competition for a second time following their 1989 success after protecting their first-half lead with a sixth clean sheet in seven games.

“We weren’t quite at our best,” admitted Evatt, who gave fit-again captain Ricardo Almeida Santos a first start since November following his recovery from illness.

“That’s not always going to be the case and then it’s about finding a way to win.

“This team has become incredibly difficult to beat. We got the goal and managed to see it out.

“The pitch is becoming really difficult for us. There’s no blame attached to anybody there but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do what we do on there.

“In the last 10 minutes we probably just need to be a bit more street-wise to see it out a little bit more comfortably but we’re really pleased to be one game from Wembley.

“It’s the sign of a good team when you’re not quite at your fluid best but still manage to win games.”

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