Ian Evatt hailed Sharon Brittan and the Bolton board following his side’s 2-0 win against Accrington in the Papa Johns Trophy semi-final.

Elias Kachunga opened the scoring before Aaron Morley doubled the lead minutes later with a stunning strike from distance.

The Whites have now secured a trip to Wembley to face League One rivals Plymouth in the final on Sunday, April 2.

“I am so proud of the players, so pleased for them,” said the Bolton boss. “Playing at Wembley - when you grow old and you finish playing, you look back on those times and I really wanted it for them.

“I wanted it so much for Sharon and the board because what they have done for this football club is an absolute miracle. To give them a big day out is something they thoroughly deserve.

“And last but not least, the supporters. They have been through so much. We almost lost this football club and now to have a final at Wembley Stadium is just amazing.

“A great game against Plymouth as well. Two great fanbases, let’s try to pack it out as best we can and see two teams going toe-to-toe. Hopefully, we will have a good final.”

It was Kachunga’s first start since his suspension, and Evatt says he deserves real credit for the way he has conducted himself in recent weeks.

He added: “I am so proud of him and I have just said that to him. Sometimes how you come through adversity really shapes who you are as a person.

“I think the way he has conducted himself, the way he has kept his head down, supported his team-mates, worked hard and taken his medicine as well because he admits he was in the wrong.

“A big goal like that, I spoke about how good it would be for him on Monday. I am proud of him.”

Accrington were reduced to 10 men during the first half when Sean McConville was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Conor Bradley.

“Obviously the sending off helps, but I thought we started really well and had one or two big chances before that,” the manager explained.

“Once they go down to 10, it almost makes it more difficult because they parked so many players behind the ball – probably more so than what they would have with 11 at times.

“We just kept our discipline with the ball really, we just kept moving it. We knew they would eventually fatigue.

“We kept professional and kept doing what we were doing. We are a really difficult team to play against with 10 men because we retain the ball, we move the ball and we ask questions. We probed and probed.

“We thought the runners from wide areas and those soft diagonals would really cause them problems. We got in a number of times and then when you hit the bar and the post, you think ‘is this not our night?’

“But I am really proud of the players that they kept their belief and they kept going. Kachunga really deserves that one.”