WANDERERS boss Ian Evatt believes availability issues have highlighted the options he now has at his disposal.

The Whites were without the likes of Declan John, Matt Gilks, Lloyd Isgrove and Kieran Lee for the win over Preston on Tuesday night.

But others stepped up in the 1-0 win over the Championship side to the delight of their manager, who next takes his side to former club Barrow on Saturday.

Evatt said: “That’s the good thing about doing our recruitment early is that we’ve now had three weeks of working on what we require day to day and we’re seeing the benefits of keeping the majority of the group from last season, so they understand what’s required.

“We have strength in depth but when we get hit and we’ve got five or six missing, obviously it does weaken the squad.

“You add Declan to that, George Johnston to that, Lloyd Isgrove to that, Eoin Doyle to that, all of a sudden, we look a real strong team.”

Evatt is also keen to see more youth-team players break into the first-team picture following Max Conway’s appearance against North End

The youngster came off the bench for the final 15 minutes and the Bolton boss wants to see other Academy players follow in Conway’s footsteps over the coming months.

“It’s great also for the young players to get minutes,” Evatt added. “Young Max Conway who came on is a kid with a bright future.

“He’s predominantly a left-back but it’s great for him to go and be involved with the first team, play in front of a crowd like that and hopefully now he’ll take those standards back to the youth team.

“We want to develop our own. We’ve seen Adam Senior, Ronan Darcy, Harry Brockbank playing second half. This is a club that wants to develop its players and we’re going about that the right way.” 

While the reasons for Tuesday night’s absences were not confirmed, Eoin Doyle and Dennis Politic have already missed friendlies due to Covid-19, and Evatt admits it has been far from ideal.

But the Bolton boss isn’t making excuses as the Whites prepare for their return to League One.

He added: “It’s challenging, but it’s the same for everybody else. We are just following protocol and that’s all we can do really.

“We’re trying to limit risk as best we can and follow protocols. That’s the best we can do.”