Boss Ian Evatt paid tribute to goalscorer Cameron Jerome and praised his side’s attitude as Wanderers again set their sights on Wembley, writes Pete Oliver.
Jerome netted his first goal for the Whites to set up a 3-1 win at Accrington Stanley which sent Evatt’s men into the quarter-finals of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy as they look to become the first team to win the competition back-to-back.
The 37-year-old striker rolled back the years with a classy performance alongside Jon Dadi Bodvarsson as a side showing seven changes to the one that had earned an FA Cup draw at Premier League Luton on Sunday kept Wanderers firing on three fronts.
“I was really pleased with the attitude, the application and the way we dealt with proper winter football; a bobbly pitch, windy, freezing cold,” said Evatt.
“The front two - Jon and Cameron - set the tone really from minute one I thought they were superb. I'm so happy for Cameron. He deserves and warrants our respect and support.
“He's a fantastic professional who's had a wonderful career. I'm privvy to see what he brings off the pitch, on the training pitch, around Lostock, the mentor he is to the other players and he's still capable of those types of performances. I thought he and Jan were outstanding.”
League Two Stanley didn’t make life easy as they hit back to trail 2-1 at the break after Aaron Morley had scored from the penalty spot to follow up Jerome’s coolly-taken opener.
But Wanderers always had the edge and the holders repeated last season’s semi-final success with a superb late Kyle Dempsey strike to put themselves in the last eight of the competition with an interest in two cup competitions in tandem with their League One promotion push.
“Post-Luton people would have been asking questions,” added Evatt, whose side faces a third-round replay at home to the Hatters next Tuesday night. “Can they go to Accrington and have the right mindset and mentality to go and get the job done?
“Absolutely we can. This group of players is improving with their mindset and their mentality and I think they've been outstanding. It's always a tough task here but the boys applied themselves so well and wanted to get back towards Wembley.
“That was an amazing day last year for everybody. Prior to the game we were speaking to the lads that were were injured. Jon and Jack (Iredale) were both long-term injured at that time and couldn't play any part and for them we want to get back there so they can enjoy the experience, along with other lads like Victor (Adeboyejo) who was cup-tied, and we've got the new recruits as well.
“It's something it's something we really want to do. We're going to try ever so hard. We're two steps away from that now and I'm delighted with tonight.”
Watch the manager's full post-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE