Ian Evatt has hailed the spirit pulling Wanderers through as the Whites bid to step up their promotion push, writes Pete Oliver.
Wanderers’ have suffered a number of set-backs in recent weeks but remain third in the League One table with games in hand on the sides around them.
Victory over Wycombe Wanderers at the Toughsheet Community Stadium tonight (Tuesday) could lift Evatt’s men back into the automatic promotion places.
And the Whites’ boss again wants everyone pulling in the same direction as his side aims to build on their fightback at Northampton – where the Whites overcame the first-half dismissal of George Thomason to draw 1-1 – and enhance a record of just one defeat in nine league games.
“The players are resilient and we are now a tough side to beat,” said Evatt, who was also dismissed from the dug-out for the second half of the game at the Sixfields Stadium.
“I thought that togetherness in the second half (at Northampton) was great again in difficult circumstances, not just on the pitch but off it as well, with the subs, the rest of the staff and the fans who played a huge part again.
“And that's what it's going to take for us all to get over the line. It's going to take everybody, every man, woman and child. We need their support, the players need their backing and we will do all we can to try and make it happen.
“We've faced an awful lot of adversity in recent weeks. We've had an injury to our goalkeeper, our captain has been out injured, we've had abandoned games, we've had sendings-off.
“We've gone through a lot and we're still there pitching and fighting and still in a really strong position. We have to take great credit from that.
“We know we want to start winning games again. We've drawn the last two league games and it's all about winning at this stage of the season and we will do all we can to make that happen tonight.”
Skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos won’t be back to face a Wycombe side which has reversed its fortunes with an impressive run since Boxing Day but is making good progress from the calf injury that has sidelined him for two games.
And goalkeeper Nathan Baxter is another absentee with the wrist injury and ligament damage he sustained against Barnsley in Wanderers’ last home game, with under-study Joel Coleman ready for his home league debut for the Whites.
“Nathan felt like he could manage the pain and get through the game at Cambrige last Tuesday and he wanted to play,” explained Evatt. “Unfortunately, that pain has not deteriorated and the club and Nathan felt the need to be pulled out to try and rest the wrist and get it healed for a period of time.
“The most important thing is Nathan's well-being. Firstly, we want him to be fit and healthy and, number two, fit and able to do himself and the team justice. We felt the need to make this decision and hopefully it won't be too long.
“That's the nature of the industry. Things happen. But we're ready to go to work again tonight and try to get a really important three points.”
Watch the manager’s full pre-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE