WANDERERS’ wide men have been challenged to get among the goals this season.

Ian Evatt has told Dapo Afolayan, Lloyd Isgrove, Xavier Amaechi and Co that they will need to find an effective end product more often if the club is to challenge at the right end of League One.

The Whites led the way in a whole manner of attacking metrics in open play last season but a relatively poor conversion rate did not match the quality of their build-up play.

One of the ways Evatt hopes to remedy that after promotion to League One is by encouraging his wider players to take up better attacking positions.

“It is a clean slate for everyone,” he told The Bolton News. “Dapo and Izzy, for example, they have to add more goals to their game. They are playing in the forward areas of the pitch and so they will be judged by what they create and what they finish off. That is what we pay them for.

“They have to get into the habit of being in the right areas, as Dapo did at Crawley, getting in the back post at the opposite side. You have to get into those positions, you cannot be happy just to build up play, dribble, cross – you have to get yourself where you can do damage too. And when we do, the goals will come.”

The challenge is not just extended to the wingers, with full-backs Declan John, Liam Gordon, Gethin Jones and Harry Brockbank all being encouraged to gamble forward when the time is right.

“With someone like MJ Williams in midfield, he gives us good security in front of the two centre-backs, and we have others can do that job too,” Evatt explained. “Our two centre-backs are able to defend and deal, two v two. You have to defend man for man when you are playing as expansively as we do. And that means there is an opportunity for the full-backs to push on when the opportunity is there.”

It was often expressed last season that Wanderers were over-reliant on Eoin Doyle for goals, or that an attack would fizzle out with the final ball because of a lack of support in the penalty box.

Getting more white shirts into the area is another target for Evatt this season, and one which he feels will reward more of the team’s build up play.

“How many times do you see our full-backs underlap or overlap and get into the crossing positions but then not find a man in the box, or there’s only the one?” he said.

“The law of averages says that the more people we get into the box, the more likely a cross is to fall to one of them. So we need to up the numbers and play the game accordingly.

“They are non-negotiables. The opposite wide man should be in the box, maybe even the opposite full-back. One midfield player, at least a number 10 and at least a number nine should be in that box every single time.

“When you get those numbers in there the cross starts to create more goals.”

Evatt voiced his displeasure with Wanderers’ performance at the weekend but believes the friendly against higher quality opposition in Preston North End, coupled with a very different atmosphere, will get the right response from the group.

Back in his playing days at Blackpool and Chesterfield, Evatt had a few high-profile run-ins with the Deepdale faithful. And he does not expect an easy ride again on Tuesday night.

“I am not Preston’s biggest fan and I don’t think I’m theirs, so it is one of those things,” he said last week. “We are excited to play the game. We are looking forward to it. It will be a good test, a different test for us against a Championship team.”