Evatt | We've Got A Job To Do

Evatt end of match Barnsley

Wanderers are again aiming to hit the right note as they bid to book a place on the big stage at Wembley, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites face Barnsley tonight (Tuesday) in the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final with a 3-1 lead in the tie.

Ian Evatt’s men got their noses in front at Oakwell on Friday night where the fans captured the mood with their own rendition of the Stone Roses hit 'Waterfall'.

With players’ names woven into the lyrics, the song has quickly become an anthem which will ring out around a near packed-out Toughsheet Community Stadium as Wanderers aim to build on their advantage and take the next step towards potential promotion.

“Everyone can't get that song out of their heads at the moment,” said boss Ian Evatt. “The players have been singing it to each other. It's been great to see and shows something so simple like that can bring everybody together. I think it's done that over these last few days and I'm looking forward to hearing it at home. 


Crowd Barnsley

“We've got a job to do and we know exactly what we need to do. The players are really hungry, in fact almost ravenous in that they want to succeed and do really well.

“But we know it's going to be a tough game, because Barnsley are a good team. And nothing would be achieved tonight, apart from a next step forward. We're not looking beyond that, we're not looking ahead to what might be. 

“All we're focused on is performing well and getting this place absolutely bouncing and we can do that through a really good performance and showing real good intent and good energy.

“Our mindset is very much win tonight, not rest on what we've done already. It's about what's ahead of us and playing well and getting the victory that we need.”

Wanderers built up a first-leg lead with two goals from Dion Charles and a late Randell Williams’ strike – wrapped around a reply from Sam Cosgrove and a couple of moments of magic from goalkeeper Nathan Baxter.

Barnsley’s away form this season – which has seen them take more points on the road than at Oakwell – means Wanderers still know they need to be on their mettle if they are to close out victory and set up a Wembley final meeting with either Oxford United or Peterborough on Saturday-week.


“Everyone can't get that song out of their heads at the moment. It's been great to see and shows you can just have something so simple like that can bring everybody together."
Ian Evatt

But the Whites’ home form has been equally impressive this season, only once failing to score on their own ground and racking up the second highest home goal tally in League One on the back of a year in 2023 which brought Wanderers’ over 100 goals.

Evatt is delighted with how his players have re-set and re-focused since just missing out on automatic promotion and following a successful tweak of tactics at Oakwell, is looking for a more of the same back at home.

“We've got to go and do it all over again now,” he added. “We've given ourselves a better opportunity by doing what we did on Friday, but I still believe we're going to have to score and we need to win the game. That's our attitude, that's our aim, and we will do all we can.

“The mood is very positive and it's been a good few days, but the players are fully focused and know that we've not achieved anything yet. We've taken a step forward, but it's only a step, and now we have to make the next step and make sure we go out to win the game.

“We’re a team that are free-flowing and try to create chances and score goals. We've scored a lot of goals so far this season and we will back ourselves to score again. We know that if we can, then that will really help our cause.

“But for me, it starts with a clean sheet and the basics of football. Barnsley are a team that make you do the basics of football well; run, compete, first-contact, second-balls, defend the box and deal with set-plays, the nitty-gritty side of football, which we need to do really well and then hopefully add some of our football on top of that. But the main framework needs to be grit, determination and hard work.”

Watch the manager's full pre-match interview and goalkeeper Nathan Baxter's thoughts on the game on Wanderers TV HERE

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