DO Bolton Wanderers need a 20-goal-a-season striker if they could get two wing-backs scoring 10 apiece?

That is the type of equation you might well ponder at the moment as the scoring burden gets shared around Ian Evatt’s team like never before.

In all competitions, 13 different players have already hit the back of the net. And while league goals have been rare for the front men – Dion Charles and Dapo Afolayan the only scorers in the first nine games – there is evidence to suggest Bolton are getting a better balance this season.

Defensively, the Whites have kept five clean sheets so far. Their record of 0.67 goals conceded per game can only be bettered by Sheffield United (0.5), Preston North End (0.4) and Leyton Orient (0.4) in the whole Football League.

And part of that success has been down to the effectiveness of an attacking press which will need to function properly against a free-scoring Lincoln City side on Saturday afternoon.

Mark Kennedy’s side put six past Bristol Rovers in their last league outing and, in Evatt’s view, bear some of the hallmarks of the attacking structure honed to great success at Manchester City, where the Imps boss coached at academy level between 2016 and 2018.

Wanderers have changed tack this season to ask more from their attacking players, the net result of which has been more scoring opportunities for wing-backs and midfielders.

Evatt admits Conor Bradley, the young Liverpool loanee, could already been well on his way to double figures.

“We can share goals around the team and it would be great to get our wing-backs towards 10 – I think Conor should be halfway there already and he’d be the first to admit it,” he told The Bolton News.

“I think it speaks volumes as to how the team is functioning. As an attacking unit, I think we are functioning really well.

“We have got some firepower ready to come off the bench if needed. We can change games tactically in terms of taking off more defensive-minded wing-backs and putting on attackers who can play out there, Kieran Sadlier for instance.

“We have got some really good flexibility within the group.”

Though Evatt is happy to see different names on the scoresheet, he does expect his forward line to become more proactive as the season wears on.

Charles has scored four goals in all competitions, having recovered from an injury which kept him out at the start of the campaign, but others including Afolayan, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Elias Kachunga and Amadou Bakayoko have not yet hit their best form.

“Obviously, every manager and every club wants a 20-goal-a-season striker,” Evatt said. “We would all like one of those because it normally means you are in the top six.

“I don’t think our strikers have caught fire yet but there have been lots of good signs, lots of good play and definitely really good work out of possession, which is helping the team defensively.

“Sharing the goals around can also be a good thing. I think we are looking more dangerous from set-plays and I think there is still loads more to come.

“The games we have won of late, and even the games we lost during that week [against Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday], we created some really good chances and opportunities. I am encouraged by what I have seen and the signs I am getting from our team. But as I said, it is only encouragement. We have got to go out there and prove it and there is a long way to go.”

Evatt wants to make a winning start to an October schedule which includes eight games, seven of which are in the league.

He expects Lincoln to play an attacking brand of football which will be familiar to Wanderers as they prepare to return after the international break.

“They are an entertaining team, they score goals and they have had some good results of late,” he said.

“There are good patterns, good rotation and they are brave in possession. They have got some threats in the top end of the pitch.

“We are going to have to be at our best. You can’t dip below our level in this league because the minute you do, you lose football matches.

“It is really competitive, there are strange results every weekend. We have to be at it and make sure we are at it.

“We know what is coming, we know how to prepare. I think it will be quite similar to the Charlton game here as a good example. We know what is required and will plan accordingly and hopefully produce.”