Wanderers are ready to welcome back Dion Charles as they look to heal the hurt and resume their progress at the top end of League One, writes Pete Oliver.
Charles missed last Saturday’s 4-0 derby defeat to Wigan Athletic following his sending off against Fleetwood Town.
The Whites felt aggrieved by a harsh-looking second yellow card for the Northern Ireland international in their mid-week win over Fleetwood which kept him out of a first defeat of the season to the Latics.
Last season’s 21-goal top-scorer will return at Burton Albion on Saturday, with Wanderers’ boss Ian Evatt glad to have the striker back in a squad which has won four of its first five games in league and cup this season.
“Dion is huge for us. It was a really disappointing second half with what happened against Fleetwood and almost the momentum shifted and carried on through to Saturday,” said Evatt.
“We now have to park that. It’s gone. It’s finished and concentrate on having him back, which is huge for us, and getting back to the levels I know we can get to.
“We’ve been hurting and we need to react now in a positive way. We have to take our medicine and we have done this week and we have to make sure come Saturday we are back to what I’ve seen in the first few weeks of the season.
“I’ve got a really strong squad of players. Whatever team we pick this week – because it’s a big week with Burton, Middlesbrough and Derby – will be what I see is right for that game.
“We’ve got the opportunity to change things should it not be working. But I’ve got a massive belief in all the players and whoever’s selected, they have to see that as a privilege and really take on the responsibility and represent what we are as a team and as a football club.”
Wanderers are close to a fully fit squad, with defender Eoin Toal expected to figure for the first time this season at some point over the next three games.
However, the primary focus remains on Burton where Wanderers will be looking for the result that could take them back to the top of the table after their 100 per cent record was punctured by Wigan.
Evatt added: “This week has been a week of, yes, de-briefing Saturday because that was important in how we learn valuable lessons from that.
“But also reminding the players that – taking the local rivalry away – you’re allowed to lose football matches and you’re going to lose football matches.
“If you won every game, winning would have no meaning. We have to make sure we get back to that winning feeling this weekend.
“We understand what it means to this football and what it means to us and put in a really good performance and get the three points we need.
“We know we let everybody down last weekend but it shouldn’t really change the feeling around this football club and what we’ve been doing so far.
“We want to get back to that winning feeling for everybody. It’s a big week coming up. A great test on Tuesday against Middlesbrough but first a big test at Burton. We haven’t won there yet, so, fingers crossed, we can do that on Saturday.”
Watch the manager's full pre-match interview on Wanderers TV. To subscribe, click HERE