Ian Evatt has called on his players not to allow successive defeats to unravel a solid start to the League One campaign.

The Wanderers boss hopes to keep spirits up in the camp this week after poor results at Cheltenham Town and Forest Green, and the slew of criticism that followed.

Evatt conceded that for at least half the game on Saturday his side were well below their best, following on from a midweek performance he described after the final whistle as “awful”.

But with fifth-placed Barnsley the next visitors to the University of Bolton Stadium, he is urging his squad to stay level-headed as they prepare for the game.

“We have to take our medicine, we have to understand that this last week has not been good enough,” Evatt told The Bolton News. “But it does not mean all the hard work and good work that we have done so far has gone to waste.

“It just means that with football you have to stay calm in the good times and in the bad, not get too high or too low when those times hit you, and that will always happen in a football season.

“It ebbs and flows and we just have to stay motivated, stay confident and give our fans something to sing about and shout about, because as I said they’ve been brilliant with us and they deserved better than Tuesday and today.”

Wanderers brought Declan John back into the side on Saturday, and the Welshman’s second-half performance was one of the few positive aspects Evatt took from the day.

“I thought he was good,” the manager said. “We felt like that is where we could hurt them, and I think we did, especially in the second half, but it was one of those games where we could play until next week and still not score.

“Each game is different and we felt like the space was between wing-back and wide centre back, that is why we went with Declan, who is a more attacking player. We felt like we wouldn’t have too much defensive responsibility and at half-time we chose to bring Jack on because we felt he’s more comfortable higher up the pitch than Jonno (George Johnston).

“Jonno’s been outstanding for us and it is not personal, it is just what we think is right for that particular game. Likewise with Conor (Bradley), he is a wing-back who can play full-back so defensively we didn’t really need that responsibility, it was fine to go and play an attacker there and try to get balls across.”

Asked whether any of Saturday’s replacements had done enough to force their way into his thoughts, Evatt maintained that he would pick a team to face Barnsley based on individual attributes and a gameplan, rather than short-term form.

“Kieran Sadlier had a brilliant opportunity to score and equalise so I think the changes helped,” he said. “But it does not change things moving forwards. “We will do our due diligence on all the opposition and we will come up with a gameplan that we feel is right for that game and what personnel suits that gameplan.”