IAN Evatt admits to being a little perplexed by the initial Covid-19 training guidelines but is pleased to now be overseeing full contact sessions.

Wanderers underwent coronavirus testing at the end of their first week at Lostock on Friday with the all-clear meaning they were put through their paces as a whole group for the first time yesterday.

That was an important early milestone for the new head coach as he builds his side up to the League Two season beginning on September 12.

Evatt was glad to get the first stage done and dusted as the Whites were initially limited to groups of five, as had been the case when Premier League and Championship clubs went back to work to complete their respective seasons.

But given the guidance for wider sport as lockdown has eased, it left the new head coach scratching his head a little bit.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” he told The Bolton News.

“You can drive past a park and a field and you can see whatever pub team or whoever else training in blocks of 30 full contact, yet professional sportsmen who are probably more looked after and take more care of themselves in other environments have to be tested and go through these phases.

“There’s no consistency with it and it’s frustrating. But now we’re into the ‘new normal’ and training as a full group.

“We’re still social distancing in the changing rooms and with showers and stuff so there’s still lots of things that aren’t normal but we’re coping well enough.

“I saw lots of bright signs when they all came together, lots of things to work on, but I’m very encouraged so far.”

The traditional football calendar may have been ripped up but the Whites’ first few days back at Lostock were not far removed from years gone by with fitness the main thing on the agenda for Evatt and his staff.

It was an important fact-finding mission for the boss given the squad building and recruitment that is on-going with head of football operations Tobias Phoenix.

“The first week was a gauge and a guide to see where they’re all at physically because it’s a completely new group really,” Evatt said.

“There’s a lot of young players in it and the ones we’ve signed from different clubs, we’re having to gauge where they’re at strength and conditioning wise and in terms of base fitness.

“It was strange because it was phase one of the Covid operation for the first week so we were training in groups of five.

“It was long days for everybody because we had to separate them all up.

“We ran through that really well and I’m really pleased with where they are at physically.”

Evatt has eight weeks in all to get his side ready for life in the fourth tier, just the second time Wanderers find themselves at that level in their history.

He was vowed to bring the style of play that led his National League champions Barrow to be nicknamed ‘Barrowcelona’ to the University of Bolton Stadium.

A video released by the club showed the head coach getting stuck in to passing drills with players including new signing Antoni Sarcevic.

But as well as working on possession and handling of the ball, a key part of the Evatt philosophy, he says fitness will be key to success in League Two as Wanderers look to be at the sharp end of things right from the off.

“In general, the standard of training and the technical aspect has been very good,” he said. 

“Obviously to play the way we’re going to play we need to extremely fit with and without the ball.

“It’s intense and you have to be fit so we’re working very hard on fitness levels and the S and C (strength and conditioning) side of things.

“So far I’m very pleased, there’s lots to work on but they are probably a little bit ahead of where I thought they’d be.

“The squad is coming together nicely, we know we’ve still got work to do and we’re doing that.”