NATHAN Delfouneso has lifted the lid on what it is like playing for the “relentless” Ian Evatt at Wanderers.

Few in the Bolton camp go back as far with the head coach as the striker, who played alongside him in Ian Holloway’s enterprising Blackpool side a decade ago.

And the chance of working with him again was enough for Delfouneso to cut short his contract at Bloomfield Road in the summer to drop down into League Two.

Evatt’s first few months at Bolton have been a whirlwind of new arrivals, coupled with a shift to possession-based football, the net result of which has been frustratingly inconsistent.

Wanderers’ early season problems have put pressure on the new boss, too, but Delfouneso is confident hard work behind the scenes will pay off.

“Knowing the gaffer as long as I have, he’s relentless,” he told The Bolton News. “He’s keen and I think he says the word ‘perfectionist’ a lot as well.

“He’s attacking and I know sometimes we’ve not shown it as much, but there have been signs where we have done it and it’s just getting it all together and getting the balance between attack and defence.

“I think him, Pete (Atherton), Gillo (Mat Gilks), they work relentlessly and it’s down to us.

“There’s only so much that they can do and it’s down to us when we go onto the pitch to go and put what we work on day in, day out onto the pitch.

“I think you’ve seen at times, especially today, where you see the work that we’ve done and play like we did. That’s what we do day-to-day and it’s just down to us to be consistent when we go out on the pitch.

“I think everyone enjoys and buys into what the gaffer wants to do, but it’s down to us to be doing it on a consistent basis and once we hit that, I don’t think there will be many teams that live with us, that’s the honest truth. It’s down to us on the pitch.”

Wanderers have shown signs of settling down in their last couple of hours of football.

They dominated the second half at Barrow and clawed back a point before an encouraging draw at high-flying Cambridge.

Evatt said after Saturday’s game that his message is now visibly sinking in and Delfouneso believes the players have had to be more proactive to change fortunes on the pitch, starting with Tuesday night’s game against Bradford City.

“The gaffer puts everything in place and he can’t play the game for us, we’ve got to go out there and put the plan into action. Sometimes it doesn’t work out exactly like that - we’ve got to observe stuff on the pitch.

“It shouldn’t have to come from the gaffer and the side for us to realise that as well, so that’s us as players needing to take responsibility. But he puts everything into play for us, that’s him and all the staff and it’s a credit to him.

“I know results haven’t quite gone for us but we believe, we keep out faith, we’ll keep going, we’ll keep working hard and I honestly really do believe that once it clicks, we’ll be an unstoppable force at times.

“Obviously we’re going to have our down times and hopefully we’ve had our blip and we can go on to go on strong.

“Every team has those periods in a season so it’s just down to us to make sure we get out of it as soon as possible and go and do the business on the pitch. Hopefully it started today and we go into Tuesday confident and we get a result.”

Both Bolton and Bradford would ordinarily bank on a large following, home and away, but on Tuesday night the UniBol will again be echoing with an absence of supporters.

Delfouneso admits the silence can have a demotivating effect.

“I don’t like it at all,” he said. “Honestly for me as a player I love and enjoy the atmosphere, whether you’re getting cheered or getting booed.

“To perform, it gives you that extra 10 to 15 per cent that sometimes can drive the team on when you need that little bit more.

“Hearing your own voices throughout the whole game sometimes can be a little bit one of those ones. I’m sure you guys watching it would love to hear something different, like a song or something, but for me personally we need to get them back in as quickly as possible.

“The fan miss coming to games, we miss the fans being here and it just shows that football is a completely different game without them here and it shows how key it is so hopefully they’re back as soon as possible and we can start enjoy moving forward as a unit because they’re a massive part of what we’re looking to go and do moving forward.

“Add them to us, we’ll just go from strength to strength, they’re a massive part of what we want to do.”

Delfouneso missed the Barrow game to be at the birth of his second son – but with the new arrival safe and happy at home he was able to join Evatt’s side for their journey to Cambridge.

“Hopefully I can now do something on the pitch for him and my other son and just dedicate it all to my family,” he said. “I’ve let him know that he could have come a few hours earlier so I could have played at Barrow, so he does know that!

“He has no idea what I’m saying to him but I did tell him ‘well, you could have been there and could have came a few hours earlier so I could have played tonight!’ “The boys got a draw in the end, but hopefully there’s a lot more positive things to come.”