NATHAN Delfouneso will get a chance to prove he can be a regular starter at Wanderers once again.

Ian Evatt said his striker was inconsolable after missing the decisive penalty against Wigan Athletic in the Carabao Cup in midweek – and admits his loss of form in recent months is now a real concern.

But the Bolton boss looks set to stand by the 30-year-old, who has scored just once in his last 27 appearances for the club, and has challenged him to rediscover the form that he had at the start of last season in League Two.

“Nathan is a senior player, an experienced player, but he is a sensitive soul,” he told The Bolton News.

“I understand each of them, personally, and what their character is like. It is more difficult for you guys or the supporters because he is seen as Nathan Delfouneso, Bolton Wanderers player. Understanding their characteristics is something completely different and obviously I am privy to it being his manager.

“He does need support. He does need help. He needs people backing him.

“We will back him. I didn’t know he had apologised but, for me, he didn’t need to. He didn’t mean to do it, nobody means to.

“He was gutted, he felt like he had let everyone down. So we will give him some positivity and rally around him because we need him back to where he has been.

“Aside from the penalty miss was it Nathan’s best game? No. Has he been in the best form? No. It is getting him back to that level of performance which is the main thing for me.”

Delfouneso’s only football this season has come in the Carabao Cup and he dropped out of Evatt’s starting line-up seven games before the end of the last campaign, following a defeat at Newport County.

The striker’s form has been a hotly debated topic among Wanderers fans of late and Evatt is looking for improvement.

“Nathan knows that, we have discussed it,” he said. “And there will come a point where you run out of chances. But for now we have to support him and give him the best opportunity to get back up to speed and where we think he can be.

“I know Nathan from the Blackpool days and I know what he is capable of doing. You saw some of that early last season and since then he hasn’t performed at the same level.

“He was actually having a good pre-season until he picked up Covid and that knocked him sideways. So, yes, for now we understand his performances are not up to the standard they should be but it is my job as his manager and him as a player to take responsibility and get him back up there.”