Evatt | Keep The Pressure On

Evatt look interview

Wanderers know three points are imperative to keep up the pressure in the promotion race when they face Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites take on the Shrews in the second of three successive home games as they look to hunt down second-placed Derby County.

A 1-1 draw against champions-elect Portsmouth Town on Saturday left Ian Evatt’s men four points behind the Rams.

But victory over Shrewsbury – who are close to League One safety – will have Wanderers back breathing down Derby’s necks with both sides then having two games left to play. 

“Getting it back to a point and then being on level games adds pressure and we have to make sure that happens,” said Evatt.

“We've had a conversation this morning - the players and I - about it still being in our hands. It might not be, factually, but I believe that if we can perform the way we did on Saturday then it makes it in our hands and gives us a great opportunity of achieving what we set out to do in one way shape or form and that has to be our focus right now.


“You've seen in the Premier League over the weekend that anything can happen in this game when you least expect it and we have to be in a position to take advantage."
Ian Evatt

“You've seen in the Premier League over the weekend that anything can happen in this game when you least expect it and we have to be in a position to take advantage.

“That starts with making sure that we win tomorrow night, a really tough game where Shrewsbury have got very little to lose and are going to come and make it very difficult for us.

“It was such a physical and technical effort on Saturday that it's probably taken its toll a little bit on the squad, so we will have to look at that and manage one or two things.

“But largely the players are in good shape and they are excited about the prospect of playing at home again and, fingers crossed, we can have a similar atmosphere to help the players do the job. We're going to need everyone's help and support to make that happen.”

Wanderers were watched against Portsmouth by their biggest home crowd since the club’s Premier League days as they left the leaders hanging on to take a point which leaves them just one away from clinching the title.

The Whites were dominant for long spells without being able to land the killer blow but now have top scorer Dion Charles back to boost the goal threat – even if the Northern Ireland international is again restricted to a substitute’s role following his return from the bench after two months out through injury at the weekend.


Collins Ogbeta celebration Portsmouth

“I will be led by the medical department,” added Evatt. “I'm not as qualified as they are in terms of injury prevention and injury recovery and Dion isn’t ready to start yet.

“It would be foolish for us to throw him straight back in. He's had a few training sessions and he's still building confidence in himself and that knee and the last thing that we need in any scenario is him breaking down again we can't take that risk. 

“We are carrying a few things at the moment and a quick turn-around doesn't help that, so I'll be led by the medical team in terms of who's available for selection and who's not and we’ll back whoever’s selected to do the job that's required.”

Dan Nlundulu could be among those involved as he closes in on a comeback from more than four months out with a hamstring injury to bolster Wanderers’ attacking options.

And Evatt knows he has a striker in red-hot form in January signing Aaron Collins, whose five goals in his last three games have helped keep the Whites in the hunt with less than a fortnight of the regular season to go.

“When we signed Aaron it was obviously a big commitment,” said the Wanderers’ boss. “It was for the long term as we feel we can help him develop and improve but he’s hit the ground running, which is great.

“I still think there's a lot more to come from Aaron but I'm really pleased for him that he's managed to show everybody what he's capable of and, fingers crossed, his goals can be even more important for the remaining few games.”

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

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