IAN Evatt believes an honest approach can keep his Wanderers squad competitive.

With Amadou Bakayoko back in contention, Elias Kachunga fully fit and Xavier Amaechi also nearing a return, the Bolton boss has more options than ever.

In midfield, Kieran Lee’s fine run of form has also enabled him to nip ahead of Josh Sheehan, who dropped to the bench for Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Shrewsbury.

Wanderers face Liverpool Under-21s in the Papa John's Trophy on Tuesday night before travelling to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Evatt says Sheehan – who is on international standby for Wales – took the decision in the right way at the weekend.

“He wants to play, but he also understands we’ve got some very talented players in that position as well. Cristiano Ronaldo started on the bench for Man United and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for any of ours,” Evatt said.

“It’s the hardest part of my job, picking teams, but that’s what I get paid for and picking benches is difficult at the minute.

“What I’ve found is if you’re always open and honest with the lads, whether they’re in or out and explain why you’ve made the decisions you have, then they’ll not like it because they want to play.

“But what they do is they respect it. They respect being spoken to and they respect some honesty and transparency and that’s what we try and be at this club.”

Shrewsbury pushed Wanderers all the way at the UniBol but the defeat saw them drop to 23rd spot in the League One table.

Evatt admitted they had provided tough opposition after games at Sunderland and Charlton in the week before.

“I’ve watched the games and there hasn’t been much in any of the games,” he said. “They went away to Sheffield Wednesday and got a good point.

“Midweek against Wycombe, there was nothing much in the game at all. They’re the type of team that unless they are dead and buried at 3-0, which probably would have done it, they’re always likely to be in it because of the way they play.

“It is challenging to play against. It is tough, it is physical, it is direct at times, they put you under pressure, but we dealt with that mostly well.

“Obviously, we’d like to be better with the ball, but we looked probably half a yard off the pace today and I put that down to the journeys we’ve had and the difficult games we’ve faced.”