Evatt: It's Come Down To This

Boss Ian Evatt is determined to try and extend Wanderers’ League One journey with the win that will take the Whites back to Wembley.

Evatt has guided his men as far as the play-offs and to a draw in the opening leg of their semi-final with Barnsley.

And with the tie all square at 1-1 going back to South Yorkshire for the return leg on Friday night, Wanderers are hoping to be the ones to secure the victory that would leave them just one more step away from a possible place in the Championship.

“This is why we’ve worked so hard throughout the course of the year. It’s been a long road, but we’ve got here,” said Evatt, whose success in also leading the Whites to Papa Johns Trophy triumph last month has made it a 58-game season so far.

“We’re still in it after the first leg. The scores are still level and we have to win one football match to get to our next target, which is going to the final at Wembley.

“We know it’s going to be really tough but provided we can show the best version of ourselves we’re pretty confident we can get the right result.

“It’s one game of football, which will hopefully give us the chance of one more to get where we want to get to.

“It’s come down to this. It was always going to be that way.  We’re in a good position. The tie is level. Both teams will fancy their chances in their own right and may the best team win.”

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Wanderers weren’t at their best in last Saturday’s first encounter at the University of Bolton Stadium.

But a Dion Charles’ equaliser prevented Barnsley from returning to Oakwell with their noses in front.

And with room for improvement in their performance, Evatt’s side – beaten just once in their last 11 games – is targeting a repeat of their impressive victory at Barnsley earlier this season to keep their hopes of promotion alive.

“I think mentally it probably does (help), that we’ve been there and won before,” added the Wanderers’ boss, who oversaw a 3-0 success at the turn of the year.

“The crowd won’t be as high for us this time around (Wanderers were restricted to just over 2,100 tickets) but we’re focused on trying to replicate what we did there in January.

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“There was a sending off in that game and that slightly helped us but before that I thought we were on top and looked the most likely. We’re looking forward to the game and, fingers crossed, we can win one more to get us through that to the final.

“They will feel they’ve got the advantage because they are at home. They’ve got the home comforts, the home crowd. But our away record recently has been pretty good. I think we’re a dangerous team away from home.

“I still think it’s pretty much a 50-50 game and we’ll just concentrate on our own performance levels and trying to get to where we know we can get to.”

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