IAN Evatt hadn’t hidden his frustration well when Wanderers’ winning run came to an end at Cheltenham, leaving some familiar questions being asked about his team’s durability.

A day later, the scowl had softened slightly. The Bolton boss doesn’t wear defeat well, least of all when he feels his players did not do themselves justice. But he was at least able to chuckle at some of the more extreme comments offered on social media overnight, from supporters whose pride had been stung just as badly.

Context is key for the Whites as they re-trace their journey down to the South West to face Forest Green Rovers, and a reminder that however grim things got at Whaddon Road, there is an immediate opportunity to correct the narrative.

“I think you do have to remind yourself sometimes,” he told The Bolton News. “Nobody is more disappointed than me when we lose, and last night I was especially disappointed because of the manner of it.

“I can accept losing when we performed as we did at Plymouth, or for long periods against Sheffield Wednesday, I just can’t accept it when we have been outfought by the opposition’s energy and intensity. That is what we have based ourselves on and become better.

“The players understood it. I could see their reaction after the game and when they came in this morning. It was frustration and hopefully now they take it out on Forest Green on Saturday.”

Travelling back immediately after the game, there was little time for Evatt and Co to mope. By Wednesday morning the players were back out at Lostock and preparing for their first visit to the New Lawn in front of supporters.

The manner of defeat at Cheltenham has opened the debate once more on whether Bolton can switch styles away from home, coping with conditions or opposing styles which force them out of their comfort zone.

Evatt knows questions are being asked – but is encouraged by the response.

“When you have played that poorly, losing 1-0 in the 87th minute feels like a sign of progression,” he said. “In years gone by I think we’d have been two or three down, when you think back to previous times that we have struggled in games like that.

“They can stay in games. I was just disappointed with the lack of creativity. We had 60-odd per cent of possession but did nothing with it, and possession wins nothing unless there are opportunities at the other end and we just didn’t create enough.

“There has been a bit of an inquest. We have had some honest conversations. I always ask the players after the game whether they want the truth, or whether they want me to sugar-coat it, and they always want it straight. I gave them my thoughts and they realise, they are hurting, and I want a reaction.”

One factor which may provide some solace for Evatt and his smarting side is that opponents Forest Green are not in a good run of form.

Beaten last time out at Burton Albion and with one league win in their last 10 games, the newly-promoted side has done little to dispel the consensus that they will be among the strugglers in League One this season.

“Forest Green have had a tough start – but this is a tough league,” Evatt observed.

“I think they are still getting to grips with this division and what it brings.

“But they are a dangerous team and they still have plenty of capability to score goals. They have a way of playing and we have to respect it, of course, and focus on everything we didn’t do on Tuesday night. If we can do that, then I have a great belief in this squad to win football matches but we can’t do what we did on Tuesday and expect anything different.”