Boss Faces Tough Calls For Day One

Ian Evatt thoughtful Curzon Ashton

Ian Evatt admits selecting his first team of the season will be a tough task as Wanderers prepare to launch their League One campaign, writes Pete Oliver.

Evatt’s men face Lincoln City at the Toughsheet Community Stadium on Saturday with an almost fully-fit squad.

Only long-term absentee George Johnston is a definite non-starter, with defender Jack Iredale and striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who missed the tail end of the pre-season games’ programme, both available.

Jack Iredale Everton friendly

Central defender Eoin Toal is also training again following his lay-off with an ankle injury, while Evatt also has eight new faces at his disposal following the Whites’ summer shopping.

“Selecting a team is going to be difficult and will be increasingly difficult moving forwards because I think we’ve got a very, very good squad of players which is extremely well balanced,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“I think we’re in a good place in terms of a squad. We’ve got good depth and good options, which offer different things. We’ve got some really good players and a really strong core group that have built a strong environment and culture to work in.

“They know what’s expected. They know what everyone’s opinion is this season and what our ambitions are and now it’s down to us and go out there and prove them. This is a big football club with huge expectations and the players have to stand up to that and rise to that.

We’ve got some really good players and a really strong core group that have built a strong environment and culture to work in.
Ian Evatt

“I do see a desire and a will-to-win in the players this week and a huge amount of excitement and we’re looking forward to the game on Saturday. Hopefully we can kick off with the right performance and three points.”

Evatt has been quick to point out the difference between ambition and entitlement as Wanderers prepare for their third successive season in League One.

Last season’s play-off finish will mark the Whites out as likely challengers again.

But Evatt has stressed the need to stay grounded and humble in the approach and regardless of the first line-up he picks, knows the entire squad will be needed over the course of the campaign.

Ian Evatt Dan Nlundulu

“There are 46 games out there and 46 opportunities to get three points. This is just the first of those,” he added.

“It’s not about the 11 who start the games, it’s not about the 11 that finish. It’s very much a squad game and all season we’re going to need everybody.

“We’re going to have ups and downs and, as a group, we need to manage both of those things really well.

“And if we do, I have a good belief this group are good enough to achieve great things. But for us now, it’s just a dream. We have to go out there and prove it.”

To watch the manager’s full pre-match interview ahead of the opening game of the season sign up to Wanderers TV. Details of subscriptions and match passes are available HERE

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