IAN Evatt has been officially appointed as the new head coach of Bolton Wanderers.

The 38-year-old has agreed a contract until 2023 at the University of Bolton Stadium, replacing Keith Hill, whose contract was not renewed at the end of last month.

Evatt led Barrow to promotion as champions of the National League last season, ending a 48-year wait for a return to the Football League for the Cumbrian club.

But the battle to bring him to Bolton has been a difficult one, with both clubs struggling to come to an agreement on compensation after a disagreement on the wording of his contract at Holker Street.

Once again, legal issues threatened to hold things up today and fans were left chewing their nails throughout the day as an expected morning announcement was delayed because of paperwork.

At 6pm Wanderers were finally able to announce they had landed their man, with Evatt pledging to bring attractive football and the spirit of unity back to the club.

“Bolton Wanderers is a fantastic football club with an incredible history and fanbase and this is a really exciting opportunity for us all,” he said.

“Hopefully I can bring a brand and an identity that people will enjoy watching – attacking and scoring goals is what we all want to see.

“We want to be challenging and competing for promotion at the top of the division and to see a packed University of Bolton Stadium.

“The community and town is also very important to me. We will get out there and engage with them and make them proud of Bolton Wanderers.”

Head of football operations, Tobias Phoenix, had been at the forefront of the search for Hill’s replacement – billing Evatt as a ‘head coach.’ He added: “We are delighted to welcome Ian to Bolton Wanderers Football Club and we are over the moon to get our man.

“We had a very clear idea of how we wanted to shape the future of this fantastic football club on and off the grass and Ian epitomises everything we wanted from a head coach.

“We are all excited to get to work in preparation for the new season.”

Chairman of Bolton Wanderers, Sharon Brittan, is also looking forward to seeing if Evatt can replicate the brand of football he employed at Barrow.

She said: “We are absolutely thrilled to bring Ian on board. I am certain that his style of football will keep us all entertained and he is very enthusiastic about his opportunity to represent the club in the town and community.

“We have followed a thorough process in identifying Ian as the right person to take us forward on the next stage of our journey and can’t wait for it to get started.”

Barrow also released a statement congratulating Wanderers on their “professional manner” in which they conducted the negotiations – and revealing an agreement had been struck for Bolton not to approach any of their contracted players for a minimum of two years.

Chairman, Paul Hornby added: ‘It’s always disappointing when someone decides to move on, especially when they’ve had such a positive impact.

“Ian did a wonderful job over the time he was here, and he leaves us with a blueprint and identity of how we want our team to play and a great group of players.

“We shouldn’t let his departure distract from a fantastic season and the massive opportunity promotion creates for this club going forward.

“We are very confident we can recruit a new management team that can take us to the next level also playing attractive, possession-based football. We wish Ian all the best in his future career and look forward to seeing him again next season.

“Ian joined us over two years ago, and in that time, we have seen a transformation on the pitch. From a side which had just avoided relegation, he implemented a possession-based footballing philosophy which culminated in us winning the league.

“As part of Ian’s exit the deal also sees assistant manager Peter Atherton and first team analyst Lewis Duckmanton leave the club too.

“Finally, we would also like to confirm that included in the agreement is a two-year embargo that means Bolton cannot approach any Barrow players under contract.

“The search for Ian’s successor has already begun and we’ll be keeping the fans updated on how that process develops.”