Evatt: I Feel Really Positive

Ian Evatt believes Wanderers remain in a strong position to keep pursuing their promotion goal with their play-off semi-final all square at the half-way stage.

The Whites hit back through top scorer Dion Charles to draw 1-1 with Barnsley at the University of Bolton Stadium.

And with Evatt confident his side can raise their game further for the return leg at Oakwell, he remains upbeat about Wanderers’ chances of progressing to the final.

“I am happy because we weren’t at our best. I think there’s a lot more to come from us. I feel really positive. I know we can play a lot better than we did today,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“They will feel they’re in a really strong position. But I feel we’re in a really strong position.

“They managed the game really well. But the game will be slightly different on Friday. The onus will be more on them, being the home team, and more pressure and that could arguably suit us better.

“I think we’re a dangerous team when the spaces become a little bit bigger and, hopefully, we’ll play with a lot more freedom. I think it’s a 50-50 game now, almost a cup final, and we’re looking forward to Friday.”

It was only after Charles quickly cancelled out Nicky Cadden’s 63rd-minute opener that the tie really came to life.

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Evatt believes Peterborough’s 4-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday the night before may have had a bearing on a cagey contest.

And with James Trafford making a couple of excellent saves in his final appearance to prevent Barnsley going home with an advantage, Wanderers know a repeat of their New Year victory at Oakwell will take them to Wembley.

“It was a really tight game, a nervy game,” Evatt added.

“Maybe the result last night affected everyone’s mindset because nobody wanted to lose it in the first leg.

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“We were a bit safe in the first half. We just looked like we were playing in our shells and a little bit safe.

“In the second half, once that goal went in, I felt the shackles came off a little bit and all of a sudden we sparked into life.

“We gained some more control and looked a lot more like we can be. We got back into it really quickly, which was important, and then Dan (Nlundulu) had a big chance.

“We’ve won some big away games this season and I feel really positive that we’ve not been anywhere near what we can be and still got a result.”

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