IAN Evatt would happily see Wanderers snarl and scrap their way to promotion from League Two.

The Bolton boss admits his team have been “too nice” at times this season – but are now starting to find their needle when they most need it.

Evatt has warned his players they have a fight on their hands against struggling Colchester United on Friday in what he feels could be the most demanding 90 minutes since the 13-match unbeaten run began in February.

Victory would ensure Bolton spend the weekend in the top three before an Easter Monday trip to Newport County.

Wanderers lacked the devilment Evatt desired in the first few months of the campaign but he has seen an “edge” in recent weeks that gives him great confidence for the weeks to come.

“They now understand that you can’t have off days,” he told The Bolton News. “There isn’t a tap where you can turn it on or off, it needs to stay on all of the time.

“Once you get yourself into that mindset, you take it naturally into games.

“It might result in an injury in training, or some argy-bargy, fisticuffs, whatever else. But it is healthy, in my opinion. Players who play on the edge every single day will naturally take that into a match and give you the best chance of winning.

“It is great to see that the players are so demanding of each other and they are policing themselves now.”

Wanderers were beaten 2-0 at Colchester back in September in what was Evatt’s fourth game in charge of the club, a slow start which has left them playing catch-up for the majority of the campaign.

The Bolton boss is encouraged by the shift in mentality during the best unbeaten run since 1999 but wants no let-up with just nine games remaining.

“We have been too nice, 100 per cent,” he said. “You have seen this season with no supporters, empty stadia, appealing for fouls and free kicks has been highlighted. That side of the game, the dark arts, we have been very naïve throughout the season with all of that.

“The players understand now that wining is a habit. To win regularly you need to make those demands of each other and put your hand up to be counted. We can’t afford passengers.

“I said when the good run started that we don’t have time for off-days, we have lost that privilege because of how we started the season.

“We have got to play at full tilt for the rest of the season, and the players know that.”