Evatt | We Will Be Ready

Ian Evatt cuppa

Ian Evatt wants his side to be ready to pounce if a ‘miracle’ happens, writes Pete Oliver.

Victory at Peterborough United on Saturday could see Wanderers win promotion – but only if Derby County lose at home to bottom club Carlisle United and the Whites engineer a four-goal swing in their final regular game of the League One campaign.

Evatt’s men will keep pursuing that dream to the end but if they come up just short, the Wanderers’ boss still wants a big finish to sweep his men into the play-offs, where they could go on to face Peterborough in the final.

“We're not expectant. It's a very difficult situation for us,” said Evatt. “Derby are heavy favourites but we have seen ourselves that Carlisle have been here and also to Peterborough and got very good results, so they are more than capable.

“But for us, we have to focus on our own performance and make sure that if there are any slip-ups we are in a position to take advantage.

“Our focus is going there and playing well and making sure we play well, because we're going to have to against a really good team. Then, if a miracle happens then fantastic and, hopefully, we can be in a position to take advantage of it.


"Any momentum or psychological advantage that you can carry through into the play-offs is obviously vitally important and we will try and make sure that's us that's carrying that advantage forwards.”
Ian Evatt

“If not, it's a really good marker for us to see where we're at against another incredible team in this division, a team that's had a great season with some really exciting young players.

“Darren (Ferguson) is a guy I have a lot of respect for and the team he has produced this season have been exciting to watch and play some really good stuff. 

“It's a good marker for both teams to see where they're at. We’re are benchmark and so are they. Any momentum or psychological advantage that you can carry through into the play-offs is obviously vitally important and we will try and make sure that's us that's carrying that advantage forwards.”

Should Derby get the job done, Wanderers are likely to finish third and Peterborough fourth as Barnsley, Lincoln, Oxford and Blackpool scrap out the final two placings to complete the play-off line-ups.

Peterborough have already been to Wembley once this season to win the Bristol Street Motors Trophy and no-one in the division has scored more home goals than the Posh and Wanderers, with 52 apiece.

Remarkably, Ferguson’s side – beaten in last season’s play-off semi-finals – has drawn only one fixture since the end of December en route to another top six-finish.


Dion Charles hat-trick ball

But Wanderers’ own form is decent, with just one loss in 11 league games, and Evatt is pleased to have closest to his strongest hand to pick from with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Carlos Mendes the only on-going absentees as striker Victor Adeboyejo targets a play-off return if required

“It's great to have personnel back and bodies back and ready to play again. They will only be better and sharper for the games that we have had,” added Evatt, whose side marked Wanderers’ 5000th league game last season with a 5-0 win at London Road when the fit-again Dion Charles scored a quick-fire hat-trick.

“With another game last weekend for Dion and Rico (Santos) returning to full fitness, all of a sudden the squad is looking a lot stronger and just at the right time.

“The one thing we’ve probably looked at since the turn of the year is that our away form dipped a little bit. We had huge injuries and weren't allowed to put our strongest 11 out on the pitch many times. We still managed to find ways to get results and we haven't lost too many. We've just drawn too many and I think that's harmed us in the end.

“But the squad has really come together. We've got some fantastic options and some great competition for places and we're looking forward to finishing the regular season (well). If a miracle happens, then fantastic, and if not it's important we carry some momentum through to the play-offs. It’s full focus on what needs to be done and whether that's the play-offs or Saturday, we will be ready.”

Watch the manager's full pre-match interview HERE

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