Evatt | No Better Game

Evatt smile Barnsley

Ian Evatt sees a local derby at Wigan as the perfect platform for Wanderers to resume their promotion push, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites head to the DW Stadium on Tuesday night with the chance to narrow the gap at the top of the League One table.

A win would take Wanderers within four points of leaders Portsmouth and potentially above Derby County into second spot with a game in hand on the sides currently occupying the automatic promotion places.

And Evatt sees the challenge of facing their local rivals as the ideal way to make that happen by bouncing back from Saturday’s defeat at Blackpool where they felt plenty of things – including a controversial red card for captain Ricardo Almeida Santos – transpired against them.

“Of course, all these other things have an impact but for me it's really important that we focus on the things we can impact,” said the Wanderers’ boss whose side led at Bloomfield Road before suffering just a second defeat in 13 league games.

“I said to the players today, if I could choose one game, personally, to have after Saturday it would be this one."
Ian Evatt

“Could we have defended better? Absolutely. Could we have played better? Absolutely. Should we have taken the chances we created when they are that clear cut? Absolutely.

“Let's just let to go of the things we can't control. Of course, there are frustrations but we must focus on ourselves and our own performances and the things we can do better. There are a lot of things we can do better. We all know that and we will be trying to do that and put that right on Tuesday night.

“I said to the players today, if I could choose one game, personally, to have after Saturday it would be this one, so we have to go and play like that.That's what I would have been wanting and the players have to feel the same. We've spoken about it today. With adversity comes opportunity and this game gives us a great opportunity to put right what happened on Saturday.

“There's no better game than that and we're looking forward to it. We know it's going to be tough. Wigan tend to save their best performances for when they play against us and we have to get there ourselves, get to that level and get to our level and if we do, we know we have a great chance of winning the game.”

Wanderers haven’t won at Wigan since their Premier League days but have drawn their last two league games at the DW Stadium.

Santos profile warm-up

Evatt’s men will be backed by over 4,200 travelling fans and the Whites’ manager wants his players to thrive on the emotion of the occasion as they look to avenge a 4-0 home defeat to the mid-table Latics earlier this season.

“It's just important that we respond,” added Evatt, who confirmed that top scorer Dion Charles will remain on the sidelines, while waiting the outcome of an appeal against Almeida Santos' dismissal.

“We obviously know this is a local derby and with local derbies come emotion. We have to show that emotion and play with that emotion, but also show a calmness and the courage that we're going to take the ball in tight areas because that's who we are and what we are as a team.

“Make sure we show unwavering belief in ourselves and take the game to them and know we're the team that wants automatic promotion. With that almost has to come a swagger and an air of self-belief and confidence and if we can show that, as well as the other side of the game, then we are capable of winning.

“The team I pick tomorrow is a team that I think we need to go to war with. It's one of those games where we're going to have to go through so many different emotions in 90 minutes to try and win.

“We have to have that fight and that spirit to match everything they can throw at us and then have the ability with the ball to hurt them when we get the chance to. There's no better game for us than to try and put things right after the weekend.”

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

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