NATHAN Delfouneso has been challenged to show he is worth a regular start at Wanderers.

The former Aston Villa and Blackpool front man has been used sporadically by Ian Evatt this season, making his first league start at Portsmouth on Saturday.

Delfouneso has started both Papa John’s Trophy games so far and is likely to feature again at Rochdale on Tuesday night.

And Evatt hopes the 30-year-old can give him some food for thought by helping Wanderers put a much needed win on the board.

“Nathan is definitely another option for us and when you have lost four of the last five games absolutely everyone should be knocking on my door to play,” he said.

“There is an opportunity to play but they have got to come in and show a fight, desire and willingness to work, first and foremost.

“They do it every day – and I am not saying it is a problem – but the way we play we also have to work hard on the ball as well.

“It is both sides of the game and it takes guts and courage when you are on the run we have been on, and we have been leaking goals.

“We will dust ourselves off and go again.”

Delfouneso made a bright start at Fratton Park but Evatt believes the problems Wanderers had in possession made it difficult to keep him on the pitch.

“Nathan did start the game well, he just fatigued,” said the Bolton boss. “When you haven’t played for so long, it happens. And that is the team’s fault, really, because the game was transition after transition after transition, end to end, players are having to work harder and in turn they blow up easier.

“We didn’t have that control that we normally have in possession, control with the ball, and we didn’t build attacks like we should and that is just down to the confidence.”

Wanderers struggled to respond after John Marquis put Portsmouth ahead a few minutes into the second half, and Evatt admits their lack of confidence is currently a problem which needs to be fixed.

“First half I thought we were effective,” he said. “We weren’t probably as pretty as normal but we played to the conditions, played to what the opposition gave us, and we had good joy from that.

“But second half we had to be better with the ball and build attacks better, especially after we conceded the goal.

“Once you concede that goal, with the type of run that we are on, you lose confidence quickly and we have to make sure that the players don’t lose faith and belief in themselves.

“They have to keep showing confidence, accepting the ball in tight areas and then doing the things that we coach them to do.”