Evatt And Whites Ready For Workload

Evatt applause Exeter

Boss Ian Evatt says the Whites are ready, willing and able to tackle their busy workload as they look to resume their promotion challenge, writes Pete Oliver.

Tuesday night’s wash-out at Cambridge means another mid-week fixture on the calendar for Wanderers, who will return to try again at the Abbey Stadium on 20th February.

With every mid-week slot now taken between now and the next international break in mid-March – when the Whites’ fixture at home to Shrewsbury is likely to be postponed – Evatt’s men face playing 11 League One matches in the space of 36 days.

With 18 games to play in total it’s set to be a hectic run-in, but one Evatt is relishing as he prepares to take his side to Northampton Town on Saturday in search of a possible return to the top two with games in hand on their promotion rivals.

“As I've said before, whatever we achieve this season we're going to have to earn it,” said Evatt. “The amount of games we've got left, the fixture schedule is really condensed. It’s going to be tough and challenging but we wouldn't ask to be in a different place. We're going to embrace it, we're going to focus and give it our best shot.

“We knew that the schedule was going to get really busy and that's why we decided to add some extra bodies and personnel in the January window."
Ian Evatt

“Along the way there will be bumps in the road, whether that's down to poor results, performances or circumstances like Tuesday night. We just have to cope and deal with them when they arise and move forwards and we've certainly done that since Tuesday.

“We knew that the schedule was going to get really busy and that's why we decided to add some extra bodies and personnel in the January window. We've got a good squad of players and that's going to be challenged and tested over this next period until the international break.

“I think there are something like 11 games in 35, 36 days or something like that which is tough, but it is what it is and we've just got to look forward to it embrace it and do the best we can.”

The squad strengthening Wanderers completed in January saw the arrival of four new faces with forward Aaron Collins signing permanently and Caleb Taylor, Nathanael Ogbeta and Calvin Ramsay joining on loan.

Taylor and Ogbeta started Tuesday night’s abandoned fixture at Cambridge, with Collins on the bench and Ramsay among those not to make the final match-day squad.

Evatt expects his starting line-up to change against a Northampton side sitting in the top half of the table but aiming to avoid a hat-trick of defeats following an impressive run either side of Christmas.

Calvin Ramsay throw

And while he welcomes the extra options and strength-in-depth at his disposal, the Wanderers’ boss admits it’s not easy leaving good players out.

“I have to say it's the worst part of my job,” added Evatt, who hopes to see captain Ricardo Almeida Santos back in training next week and pushing for a return within the next seven to 10 days.

“It's awful having to leave players out of squads. It's difficult, especially when they don’t deserve it. But I can only pick 11 and 18 on the back of that. Sometimes people are going to miss out and again it's an ad-hoc basis which depends on the personnel, the opposition and what we think the game is going to look like.

“But it’s very much ‘stay ready, stay bought in, back the team back your team-mates' because if we achieve what we want to achieve this season it's very much a team goal and collective thing and everyone benefits from that, whatever your circumstance.

“Unfortunately, in the world of football and the game we are in there are going to be people disappointed, but we will do our best to keep them on side and on board.

“The 11 who start every week are easy to keep happy. The most important people at any club are the ones outside of the team and we have to keep them focused and keep them bought into the environment and culture.

“And I'm sure they will be because they're all fantastic lads and focused on the prize which is 18 games away and we have to do all we can to try and make it happen.”

Watch the manager’s full pre-match interview on Wanderers TV

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