Ian Evatt wants in-form Wanderers to keep firing on all fronts as they continue their defence of the Bristol Street Motors (EFL) Trophy, writes Pete Oliver.
The Whites have already booked their place in the knock-out stages of the competition they won last season by taking maximum points from their first two fixtures in Group E.
Another point on Tuesday night at Stockport County – who have also ensured their passage through – will guarantee a home draw in the last-32.
And that will be the aim for a Wanderers’ side which has won nine of its last 10 games in all competitions to climb to third in League One and also advance in the FA Cup.
“Playing at home is always an advantage for us,” said Evatt, who would be the first manager to retain the Trophy if Wanderers can go all the way again. “It is suited to the way we want to play and our fans are unbelievable, home or away. We're through, that's the main thing, and we're in the next round.
“For us now, it's about going about our work in the right manner, the right way, with the right energy and the right attitude, doing the basics well and then hopefully we can add quality onto that to make a good performance and get the points we need to top the group.
“We want to try and win as many games as we can. We can’t really prioritise and choose when to turn the tap on and off. The tap needs to stay on and we need to be focused on all competitions.
“These competitions have financial implications for the club as well. We really benefited from the run in this competition last year. It’s the same with the FA Cup, the prize money is great, so we will just keep going as best we can and try and win every game that's put in front of us.”
While Wanderers have been flying, Stockport have also put together a remarkable recent run with a club-record 13 successive wins propelling them to the top of League Two and progress in two cup competitions.
The Whites are next to try and end that winning streak but will have to do so without a number of key men, with Josh Sheehan, Dion Charles, Eoin Toal, Carlos Mendes Gomes and Zac Ashworth on international duty and defender Will Forrester and midfielder Kyle Dempsey missing through injury.
“It's damaged us having the international lads away. It isn't ideal that this competition still takes place in the international window,” admitted Evatt.
“I think the League and the competition’s biggest gripe is that teams don't take it seriously enough. We've tried to do that and give it the respect it deserves but that's where my frustration comes, with still playing the game in the international window.
“It's a little bit contradictory but it is what it is and we’ll patch the lads up and go again. There will be opportunities for some younger players to show us what they can do and the opportunity for others who probably haven't been in the team of late. We’re confident whatever team we pick can be competitive.
“It's a great game and an opportunity for us to go up against a team that is doing very, very well and having an excellent season on an unbelievable run of form.”
Evatt will also be an ‘absentee’ at Edgeley Park as he serves a one-match ban from the technical area following a third yellow card of the season in Saturday’s win over Blackpool.
However, the Wanderers’ boss will be permitted to prepare the team and watch from the stands as assistant boss Pete Atherton and first-team coach Matt Craddock occupy the dug-out.
“It is a frustration, and I will be having conversations again this week with the authorities to find out where we stand with it all,” added Evatt, who was unhappy with a yellow card count of six to one during the 1-0 victory over the Seasiders which took Wanderers to within one point of table-topping Portsmouth.
“It doesn’t sit right with me, but it is what it is. I'll have to sit out tomorrow night and Pete and Matt are perfectly capable of managing the team – and will probably be getting earache from the stands from me anyway!”
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