WANDERERS have been told to prepare for a full-blooded battle against Accrington Stanley tonight as they look to put themselves within touching distance of the play-offs.

Three games remain for the Whites to cement their place in the top six and victory at the UniBol would ensure a five-point cushion on seventh-placed Peterborough United with only six points left to play for.

John Coleman’s Stanley are deep in relegation trouble, currently three points from safety with a vastly inferior goal difference to many of the clubs around them.

With League One survival such a factor for the opposition, Evatt expects the third meeting of the season between the two Lancastrian clubs to be the feistiest yet.

“It will be a completely different game to the one we saw on Saturday, it’ll be blood and thunder, end-to-end, transitional, and I think we will have to defend a lot more than we did against Shrewsbury. They will put us under pressure, ask us questions and fight for every ball.

“Accrington will scrap and back each other up and we have to do all of those things, but also have that ability to switch from aggressive mode into the cool, calm mode to keep the ball on the night. If we do, we’ll be alright.

“We can’t just compete and match them because it isn’t enough. We have to do all of that and then make our quality count.”

Wanderers came back from 2-0 down to beat Stanley 3-2 in the Wham Stadium in October and then beat them again in the Papa Johns Trophy semi-final in February.

Evatt believes there will be a cup tie feel to tonight’s game with so much at stake – and he expects his opposite number to bring up the semi-final in his pre-match team-talk.

“Regardless of what has gone on since then – that is 100 per cent going to be used by John and their team,” he said.

“They will feel they owe us one from that occasion so we have to be ready for that, match it, and then if we can play football to our level we have a good chance of winning it.”

Ricardo Santos was voted into the League One team of year at the EFL’s end-of-season awards on Sunday night – and Evatt was surprised to see he was Bolton’s only representative.

“Everyone knows what I think of Rico, I think he is the best centre-back in the league and we are extremely happy to have him,” he said.

“There are always clubs, managers, players that will feel hard done to with things like this – but, for me, James (Trafford) is the best goalkeeper in the division and Conor (Bradley) is the best right-back in the division.

“Other people might see things differently and it is a subjective game but I am a little surprised not to see them there.”