Evatt: Let's Make It Our Year

Ian Evatt wants Wanderers to make it a happy New Year and 2023 a big one for the club as the Whites continue to compete on two fronts.

Evatt’s men kick off the year at Barnsley on Monday afternoon (KO 3pm) occupying a place in the League One play-off positions.

Wanderers also have a home quarter-final in the Papa Johns Trophy against Portsmouth to look forward to on Tuesday-week and Evatt is eyeing a bright future.

“We’ve finished 2022 in a positive position,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“We’ll finish this year now and wish everyone a happy and a healthy New Year and make 2023 our year.

“It’s been a year of progress and progession and now we have to make sure 2023 is our year.

Image removed.

“We know we’ve got some big games to come but we’ve got bodies returning all the time, we’ve got the transfer window to hopefully bring in one or two in to strengthen.

“I think we’re in a good place. There’s so much more to come from this group of players and I really feel that.

“I’m pleased with how this year’s gone but I’m still hungry for loads more and I think there’s so much more to come.”

Wanderers signed of 2022 with a 1-1 draw at Lincoln City on Friday night as they reached the half-way stage of the season.

The Whites needed a second-half comeback to take a point thanks to Eoin Toal’s first goal for the club.

And while the lack of a winner saw Evatt’s side slip a place to sixth in the table, they know victory at Oakwell would see them move to 40 points and level with the Tykes, who currently sit in fourth spot.

That won’t be easy after Barnsley secured a point at the University of Bolton Stadium in October before returning to knock Wanderers out of the FA Cup three weeks later.

But Evatt is backing his players to rise to the challenge and hopefully pick up where they left off at Lincoln following a below-par first half.

“I don’t worry about us in the big occasions and the games to come – the Barnsleys, the Plymouths, the Portsmouths,” Evatt added.

“I think they take care of themselves. It’s nights like Friday where if you don’t have the right attitude, you don’t win games.

“We need to start the game better than we did on Friday night but I don’t worry about us in the big games really, certainly not physically and our energy and attitude.

“We’ve got to try and attack every game and win as many games as possible.”

Wanderers could be strengthened by the return of midfielder Josh Sheehan, who missed the game at the LNER Stadium with a dead leg.

And captain Ricardo Almeida Santos and former Barnsley loanee Gethin Jones are also nearing a return to fitness to increase Evatt’s defensive options as the Whites start a big month and, hopefully, a successful year.

Read Time: 3 mins