IAN Evatt believes he is getting to know the Bolton Wanderers fanbase – even though he hasn’t actually met them yet.

With his side on the verge of a promotion to League One that has been achieved without a single person in the building because of the pandemic, the relationship between the manager and his team’s supporters can best be described as ‘unique’ thus far.

Evatt went through the mill early on as his side laboured through the first half of the season but after a remarkable turnaround in fortunes post-February, he feels he is now discovering the characteristics the fans want to see in their club.

“What I have learned and started to understand about Bolton’s support and fanbase is that they just want people to wear their heart on their sleeve, give it everything they have got,” he said.

“I think that is what I stand for and what my teams stand for and you have seen this season we have shown character in abundance, through thick and thin. We maintained positivity and dignity and got on with the job.

“When we have gone behind in games we have come back to find an answer. Look at Carlisle, we were down heavily there, Mansfield, it has been the theme all season.

“For me, I can’t wait to get the fans back into stadiums, really to show them in person what we are about – me and the team – because I think they will be really proud of us and proud of what we are trying to do.

“That is what football is about. We want the fans to want to see us play and enjoy seeing what we are doing on and off the pitch.

“We haven’t had a chance to get out there in the community and I can’t wait to get around Bolton, meeting fans, meeting young people, visiting schools, selling the dream, the vision, the brand and identity of Bolton Wanderers. I can’t wait.

“For now, let’s just make sure we get this promotion and make sure the fans enjoy it in the summer.”

Supporters have flooded the club with good luck messages this week after an appeal on social media.

“I have read through those messages and I have read them, one by one, personally. It means the world to us, it really does,” Evatt said.

“The best thing I can take out of this season is that we have built that bond and trust again with the fanbase and they are proud of their team again. It’s amazing.

“Hopefully we can get the job done now to really give them something to cheer about. It isn’t done yet, we know what needs to be done, but hopefully we go into Saturday full of confidence.”

Evatt feels the secret to success against Exeter City will be to make the right decisions on the ball.

“I think it will be an attacking match predominantly,” he said. “They do attack in numbers and get lots of balls in the box, play forwards quickly and have lots of energy going forwards.

“But it’s down to us then to be calm under pressure and to pick them off in transition and hopefully we can.”

Listen to Ian Evatt thank Bolton Wanderers fans for their messages of support this week by clicking 'play' below.