IAN Evatt hopes to learn lessons from Wanderers’ problematic starts to the last two seasons by tailoring his summer schedule differently.

Though the Bolton boss took great pains to point out some of the external issues the club has had to overcome since his arrival in July 2020, he is confident the solid foundations now in place will give him a better chance of success in League One.

Last term a reasonable first three months nosedived quickly after a savage run of injuries and individual dips in form.

Not for the first time in his managerial career, Evatt was able to count upon a strong finish in the second half of the campaign – and he now feels in a position to analyse what changes he can make to compensate.

“We’ll look at things all of the time and obviously analyse what we do pre-season and how we do it,” he told The Bolton News. “My Barrow team was the same, the season we won the league we had I think seven points from the first nine games and we ended up going on to win the league, so there’s something we need to look at there, no doubt.

“But I do think the circumstances here in particular has gone against us with that and I’ll explain why. The first season we had more or less zero players so we had to recruit a whole new squad, I was new, a whole new way of playing, not only having to educate the players on what was expected but the supporters and the fanbase because it’s different to what Bolton teams have played in the not so distant past.

“This season, because of the salary cap last year, it affected our recruitment in the summer in particular in terms of we could only spend what we could within the salary cap last season, so obviously when you’ve got earners at the top end of that cap and you have to fill the squad with players that have potential but aren’t going to consistently perform at the levels needed to win in League One and once we got all of those injuries, those players were having to step up to the plate and just weren’t ready for it.”

Wanderers were hit with a few injuries to key players in the final few weeks of the season, including skipper Ricardo Santos, wing-back Marlon Fossey and midfielder MJ Wiliams.

Evatt feels, however, that the way his squad was able to cover for the absent players shows how far it has progressed in the last 12 months.

“This season has really been adding the layers to the squad, making sure there is that strength in depth under the first 11, which I do believe now we’re starting to get to,” he said.

“We were still able to be really competitive, even in the three drawn games against the top teams where we probably had five or six players on the treatment table.

“I think we are getting better at that, but we’re looking at all things. I’m looking at myself and the coaching staff, pre-season, the fitness coach, all these things, how we layer pre-season, how many games we play, what the training schedule looks like, how we manage the workload at the start of the season because it’s really high and heavy.

“The answer is we’re looking at everything and obviously we want to start fast and try and maintain that because what we’ve learnt this season is unlike last, even though we’ve had a really good run of form, you can’t afford to give people ground because there’s too many big clubs and big teams in this division.”