CHANGES to the regulations which allow managers to make five substitutions per game from this weekend have arguably come a little late to be of vital importance to Wanderers boss Ian Evatt.

Six weeks ago, when he was juggling a squad with visibly different fitness levels, the ability to chop and change from the bench and minimise the risk of fatigue injuries would arguably have been more useful.

But nevertheless, the Bolton boss, who has stated regularly that lengthy injury lists being racked up by clubs are a direct result of altered training schedules caused by March’s lockdown, is happy to have that luxury tomorrow afternoon against Stevenage.

Being able to make five changes opens up a new world of different tactical possibilities, which Evatt admits could work to his advantage when playing such an expansive game.

“It is good that if a game is not going how we want to, or we need to see it out, we can have the option to change it,” he told The Bolton News. “Primarily, though, it is better to manage people’s fitness levels and fitness loads.

“The way we play is difficult. It is intense and it is hard work.

“We have to work hard to keep the ball, but also to win it back as well.

“When you are trying to be a possession-based team it can be physically demanding and you absolutely have to be fit.

“We will fatigue, we are going to get tired, especially when we have got the likes of Gethin Jones back after six weeks and only really trained one week before the game. Then Eoin Doyle has been out, Lloyd Isgrove, Shaun Miller have only just come back, so keeping people in one piece is important. When they get to that level of fatigue you have to make sure you get them off the pitch to make sure they don’t get injured.”

EFL clubs voted for a change in the regulation this week but those in the Championship will be allowed to pick from a bench of nine replacements, whereas sides in Leagues One and Two will be restricted to the current seven.

“I don’t really understand it, I think it should be the same across the board,” Evatt said.

“I don’t see why the Championship should be any different. Yes, they might make the argument that Championship clubs have more money and bigger squads, that’s great, but you don’t have to name nine players, it’s just an option.

“If we have the option of nine fit and available players who are fit for purpose, then why shouldn’t we be able to name them?

“But then hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? We can all look at the injury stats now and know everyone got it wrong.

“The further down the pyramid you go outside the Championship I understand there wasn’t really a want for it purely on financial reasons. All of a sudden you have to pay players appearance money, whether they are sat on the bench or on the pitch, or squad bonuses. There is a financial impact at a difficult time for clubs and I get that.

“But there comes a time with the number of injuries we had that it had to change. Luckily it is doing and we can now start managing the group better."

Currently, the only players unavailable to the Bolton boss are Harry Brockbank, Liam Edwards and Dennis Politic, which meant he had the opportunity of changing his full line-up in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.

From here on in Bolton have no more cup competitions to mix and match – so the onus could be on them to organise friendly fixtures on the training ground to keep their shadow squad fit.

Evatt hopes the substitution rule changes may aid him in that quest, too.

“If you can get players more minutes in a competitive league fixture then it will definitely help,” he said.

“First and foremost we have to keep the players fit, so for the foreseeable future there won’t be any games because we have to keep them in one piece.

“As we start to creep towards Christmas we’ll look at some games.

“The most important thing, for me, is the training standards. And if we can make sure that the intensity is there and we’re training at full speed and the level I demand every day then the fitness levels shouldn’t take much of a hit anyway.”