IAN Evatt will call his Wanderers squad back early for pre-season training in order to fully bed down his proposed footballing makeover.

The new Bolton head coach could be bringing his players back to Lostock within a fortnight to begin preparations for League Two, even though an official start has yet to be announced.

Clubs met last week to discuss options but while provisional dates have been pencilled in for the end of August and second weekend of September – either side of the international break – there has been no definitive decision, as yet.

Evatt says his players may need longer on the training ground to prepare physically after more than four months off. And though he expects everyone to be in reasonable condition, he is also mindful that the new brand of football he is looking to play could be a culture shock.

“We’ve identified a start date now, it’s maybe a bit longer a pre-season than players would normally have because they have had so long off but we’re looking forward to it,” he told The Bolton News.

“Football has changed in recent years and you have to take good care of yourself off the pitch, 24-seven, what you are fuelling your body with and the fitness side of things should be a given now.

“However, we’re implementing a very different style, so I think it’s going to take a little longer than normal. Hopefully we’ll have a new group to work with too, so they will need to get used to me, the football club and the way we do things.

“We’re looking at more-or-less an eight-week pre-season, rather than the usual six, so that should be plenty of time to bed the lads into the new system.”

Coping with COVID-19 testing, social distancing and new guidelines on health and safety will be another new experience for lower league clubs looking to return to normality this summer.

Pre-season tours and friendlies also become more complicated but Evatt is confident his preparations will be thorough enough.

“We’ll find a way – adapt and overcome,” he said. “We’re not worrying about the negatives. It’s the same for everyone else this summer.

“The most important thing is working hard to put plans in place. That is what will give us the advantage. It’s a massive reset, so we need to recruit the right players to get Bolton Wanderers moving in the right direction again.”

Evatt is continuing to map out his recruitment strategy alongside Tobias Phoenix, with striker Eoin Doyle set to be the next piece placed in the jigsaw. The formulaic, methodical approach is quite the departure from recent summers, where events off the pitch have seriously impacted on the club’s ability to plan ahead.

“We want to win the league and get promoted this season, no question about it, but we have to lay the foundations to get us there,” Evatt explained. “We have got a little more time to do it because it’s very possible that the season will start a little bit later and we’ll work hard on that training pitch.

“I will recruit players who can play the way I want to play and that’s the benefit of all this. It’s pretty much a blank canvass to tick off which positions I need, what is their skillset? Are they the right character? If the answer is ‘yes’ then let’s get them in the building.

“There’s going to be pressure - but we will have to learn to deal with that.”