Evatt | We've Got To Ask The Right Questions

Evatt presser

Ian Evatt wants a winning run-in to keep the pressure on the top two, writes Pete Oliver.

Wanderers have five games to go in their automatic promotion push with Bristol Rovers on Saturday the next stop on the mission.

Victory at the Memorial Stadium would put the Whites one point behind second-placed Derby County on level games before the Rams resume their own challenge at Wycombe Wanderers next Wednesday night.

Derby still hold the aces, but remain in potential striking distance for Evatt’s men after taking one point and not three from a 2-2 draw at League One leaders Portsmouth on Tuesday night. 

“It wasn’t the worst (result),” said the Wanderers’ boss. “What it does is it takes a result off the table. If we – and the most important thing is that we do our job – win the remaining games, then it means they have to win all their remaining games as well.

“It's a big if, but for us, it's just making sure that we ask the right questions of the ones above us and we can only do that by winning games. It's tough to win consistently at this level, in this division, and we have to find our best form now.


Evatt serious touchline

“I thought Monday it was a very, very positive performance. I think we've had some good ones of late. We've scored five in back-to-back home games now which has probably gone under the radar a little bit, which is fine.

“We'll go to Bristol full of confidence and know it's almost a cup final for us. We are at a stage of the season now which is high pressure, risk and reward, and we need to go there and try and win. 

“There's no other result really which is okay for us. We have to win. It's down to us to perform, try to get three points and hopefully apply some pressure, but our main focus is on ourselves.”

Wanderers’ 5-2 Easter Monday win over Reading underlined the best home record and highest home goal tally in the division.

The Whites have three home games in succession after their trip to mid-table Rovers before ending the regular season at top-six rivals Peterborough United.

And Evatt is pleased to see several players returning to fitness for the run-in, which could still have a dramatic end. 

Goalkeeper Nathan Baxter could be back in contention on Saturday after his ever-present run was ended at the start of February by a wrist injury.

And while the trip to Bristol may come a game too soon for the return of top scorer Dion Charles, he is close to being back to aid the final push for a top-two finish, or if it comes to it, the play-offs.


"The main focus is on doing the business ourselves and we have to remember that."
Ian Evatt

“Dion is not too far away; really, really close in fact,” added Evatt. “He can do 99 per cent of what he needs. He’s had another round of prolotherapy (pain relief) which will hopefully tick that last one per cent off and then he's ready to go. He's raring to go.

“Nathan trained fully today. At the moment he looks great. Fingers crossed there's no reaction overnight, so we will make a call about him and the weekend but it's great to have him back.

“Dan (Nlundulu) is back training and just needs a bit of volume before we get him back involved. Caleb Taylor is back training, George Johnson has been training for a few weeks now and getting better all the time and Randell (Williams) is back fully fit now.

“Gethin (Jones) will probably miss this weekend, but be okay for next, so all of a sudden that squad is getting stronger and stronger which is exactly what we need.

“There are three avenues at the start of the season to get promoted from this division. The first one (as champions) looks unlikely, even though it's possible, and at the moment we're very much in the other two. 

“Number two (second place) is our preferred option and we're in with a real good chance there. Obviously, we need a little bit of help, but not too much. The main focus is on doing the business ourselves and we have to remember that. 

“But we are in with a fighting chance and having the bodies back and if we can continue the form that we've been in I feel for a while now - and definitely on Monday - it gives us a great chance.”

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

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