Dion Charles is on course to end Wanderers’ 22-year wait for a 20-goal front man – but Ian Evatt his value extends beyond his strike rate.

Michael Ricketts was the last player to hit 20 goals in a single campaign back in 2001, with Eoin Doyle coming closest in the years since, scoring 19 in all competitions when the Whites were promoted from League Two in 2020/21.

Charles currently has 17 to his name after his hat-trick against Peterborough United on Saturday, and with at least 16 games remaining this season, the odds are favourable that he will hit his personal target.

Evatt says the Northern Ireland international’s hard work out of possession has been just as important to the team as his goals, and as Bolton look to extend an impressive eight-game streak of home games without conceding a goal tomorrow night when they face MK Dons, the manager is once again calling for all hands on deck.

“They do say that every successful team needs a 20-goal-a-season striker, it’s regulation, really,” Evatt said. “Thankfully, Dion looks like he is going to turn into one of those for us, which I am delighted about.

“But aside from his goals I am just delighted with the way he works for the team. As I said before those forward players and midfielders really set the tone and help us keep clean sheets. Dion most certainly does with his work ethic.

“He has been a regular goal-scorer at this level now for the last three years so he is very confident and believes in himself and his ability.

“The goals are his job but, for me, the most pleasing thing is the way he sets the tone and the press off for everyone else to follow. The intensity he plays at is outstanding and he is a problem for defenders, he never gives up, never gives them a minute, we need that from him again tomorrow night.”

Charles scored from the penalty spot as Wanderers beat MK Dons 2-0 on their own patch back in September but Evatt predicts this meeting will be a very different proposition.

After sacking Liam Manning in December, MK appointed Leeds United coach Mark Jackson to his first managerial post.

Recovery has been gradual but the club has managed to win their last two away games to pull themselves a point clear of the bottom four.

Evatt expects to see a Leeds influence in his opponents at the UniBol.

“It will be a completely different game, they will be a lot more aggressive out of possession than they were down there earlier this season,” he said.

“I think that is what you expect from someone who has coached at Leeds, especially in the Marcelo Bielsa era and Jesse Marsch, they are always high-energy with a good pressing strategy, so we will have to figure it out and play through it.”