Pratley targeting second cup shock
IN-FORM midfielder Darren Pratley has vowed there will be no let-up as he plots a cup upset against Everton.
Back-to-back clean sheets – unheard of for nearly two years at Wanderers – have given Dougie Freedman’s team a solid base of late.
Pratley, whose energetic performances have been a feature of both games, has put the defensive improvement down to planning on the training ground.
“Bottom line is that if you don’t concede goals, you’ll pick up more points, so it’s pleasing,” he told The Bolton News. “Fair play to the whole team because we have been defending from the front. And it gives us that confidence heading into the cup game.
“I think we’re playing better than we were before. We are more organised and it feels like we’ve got more of a gameplan. The manager has had a big influence on us since he came in, so hopefully we can push on from here.”
Pratley has started five of the last six games, which represents his best run this season.
And some would argue he is also in the richest vein of form he has shown since moving to the club the summer before last.
“You want to play football,” he said. “I’ve been here for nearly two years now and I haven’t played a lot of games. That’s frustrating for anyone but I’ve carried on working hard and I’m enjoying playing in a team where everyone knows what they are doing.”
Victory over Sunderland in the last round seemed to give Wanderers some respite from what has been a desperately inconsistent league campaign.
Pratley hopes another good performance against the Toffees can have a knock-on effect in the Championship.
“It might take our mind off the league but if we beat Everton, just like when we beat Sunderland, it doesn’t mean a lot if you’re not winning week-in, week-out in your own league,” he said.
“It was positive that we got a point against Palace because it meant the hard work put in at Sunderland didn’t go to waste.
“We’ll only be thinking about it as a cup tie. Most of the boys have played in the Premier League so there isn’t that worry there.
“The way we’ve been playing sometimes this year, people definitely won’t be expecting a result.
“I don’t think people will be betting on us, especially with the team they’ve got and the way they’ve been going, but it would be nice to get a cup upset.”