Evatt | Players In A Good Place

Evatt look Barnsley

Ian Evatt believes Wanderers are coming nicely back to the boil as they approach their final ’10-game season', writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites moved into the League One automatic promotion places with their thrilling mid-week comeback at promotion rivals Barnsley on Tuesday night.

Evatt now takes his side to Exeter City on Saturday to continue their busy games’ schedule.

And the boss believes the signs are good after seeing similarities with this time last season when a draw at league leaders Sheffield Wednesday sparked a run-in that brought Papa Johns Trophy glory and only one league loss en route to the play-offs.

“I think psychologically it's good for everyone to get into that top two,” said Evatt a couple of days on from the 2-2 draw at Oakwell when fast-finishing Wanderers secured a point with a 98th-minute equaliser.  “We've been on the periphery for a while with games in hand and now those games have gone and we're in there.

“It's an exciting 10 game season now. We're in there by a point and we have to make sure we beat every other team around us over these next 10 games."
Ian Evatt

“We've had a difficult period and I think played more than anyone else in this calendar year and had lots of injuries. Those injured players are starting to get close to returning and I feel and sense the players are coming back into form and coming back to the types of performances we know they can produce.

“I sensed the same thing last season, post-Sheffield Wednesday, and I sense it again. I think the players are in a really good place. I think they're building something really special.

“It's an exciting 10 game season now. We're in there by a point and we have to make sure we beat every other team around us over these next 10 games and if we can do that we'll be promoted.”

Wanderers’ fixture at 16th-placed Exeter will be their 18th game of 2024 – alongside two abandoned matches which both got under way – with three more to go ahead of the up-coming international break.

Iredale goal Exeter

The target is to stay in and around the promotion slots going into that break and victory at St James’ Park would help towards that – although Evatt isn’t expecting a repeat of Wanderers' 7-0 victory over the Grecians in November which set a club record as the biggest ever home league win at the Toughsheet Community Stadium

“That was a good performance and what we will try to do is replicate that best we can,” the boss told Wanderers TV. “Those 7-0 victories are very few and far between, so we know that's not likely at all.

“They have got a lot more competitive since the January window and are on an upward curve, so it's going to be a challenge and a test as it always is there. But we need to be ready and carry on these performances which seemed to be getting better and better.

“We've got the international window coming up where we can reset and get some real time on the grass, which always benefits us, and I just sense the performances are getting better and hopefully now we can carry that through.

“We're looking to get through these next three games and then that's this block complete. There are three big games to come, a big week to come, but our full focus is on Exeter. We’re looking forward to the break but we know we’ve got to take care of business this week.”

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

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