Evatt | We Needed To Perform

Evatt celebration Reading

Ian Evatt hailed the impact of a bumper crowd and his team’s response to it as Wanderers provided a five-star showing to keep their promotion hopes alive, writes Pete Oliver.

Evatt’s men beat Reading 5-2 – helped by a hat-trick from Aaron Collins – in front of their biggest crowd of the season.

A gate of 25,266 saw Wanderers out-class the Royals to secure a 14th home win of the campaign – the highest number in the division –­ to move back within three points of second-placed Derby County in the League One table.

And Evatt knows his side must keep on winning after sending the fans home happy.

“The crowd was amazing today,” said the Whites’ boss, whose side has lost just one of its last seven games. “It was so good to see not many empty seats and the atmosphere was great. The players wanted to respond to that and I think they did.

“We love playing here and we all love working for Bolton Wanderers. I can't emphasise that enough and we’re all trying our absolute best to get this club back to where at least it should be.

“There are lot of managers of other clubs trying to do the same things as well and we have to respect that. We've got no entitlement to do anything, so we have to keep working.


Bodvarsson Collins pitch celebration

“We’ve had lots of adversity in the second half of this season. I don't see many other teams having the same struggles with injuries that we've had. We've been very unfortunate on that front but this squad of players keeps wanting to find a way to win and we've managed to do it today.

“We need to do it at least five more times and potentially eight because next season we want to be in the Championship and we're going to give it our absolute all to try and make that happen.

“All we can do is take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, we're at a stage now where we are reliant on others. But at this stage of the season, under this pressure, it's tough and anything can happen in football.

“We've seen some strange results along the way, but whether it's five games or eight games (including the play-offs) we need to win. We just have to make sure that we do it. And if we can perform like we did today, then it gives us a good opportunity of doing it.”

Collins claimed his first hat-trick for Wanderers, with two explosive finishes either side of a penalty that gave the Whites a 2-1 half-time lead.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson completed a fruitful afternoon for the front men with two goals of his own and Wanderers should have scored even more from a glittering display to further enhance their goal difference – which is currently four worse than Derby, who go to league leaders Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

“We needed to win, there was no doubt about that, but we needed to perform,” added Evatt after his side had dropped two points in a goalless draw at Stevenage on Good Friday. “Today was an excellent performance. These players have constantly had questions asked of them and fingers pointed at them.

“The squad is depleted but they've answered some questions again today. I was delighted with today for large parts. There was lots of good play and I was delighted for Aaron Collins and for Jon.

“With only three (fit) strikers, keeping one of them fresh was always important. We managed to do that (with Jon) and those two left the line superbly well.

“That's one down and we need to try and win the next five. We're not looking further ahead than Bristol Rovers, of course, but we know we're going to have to win as many games as we possibly can to give ourselves a chance.”

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