IAN Evatt admits he would take failure to make the play-offs personally – but is backing his players to come good when it really matters.

The Wanderers boss is determined to make good on his pre-season target of the top six, and feels his team will be dangerous opposition for anyone if they can make the semi-finals and extend their campaign.

Pressure was ramped up by defeat against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night, which means Bolton now must beat Fleetwood on Saturday and potentially win again at Bristol Rovers the following weekend to be completely sure of success.

Evatt does not want to contemplate the alternative but feels there is a bigger picture at play.

“We set ourselves the highest possible target – and for us this season that was the play-offs,” he told The Bolton News.

“You have to remember this is our second season in League One, and where we were a couple of years ago. People may view that as an excuse but it isn’t, it takes time to rebuild.

“It took teams like Sunderland, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday many years and many millions of pounds to get out of this division. We are a long way along the process without spending anything like that.

“We have been in the top six since September, more or less, and it would be a real kick in the b*lls if we weren’t in the play-offs but it wouldn’t mean it was the end of the world.

“We want to get there and will fight tooth and nail. Nobody will be more disappointed than me if we don’t make it, I will take it personally. But my point is that we have still progressed.

“I am confident we will make it. And once you are there recent form goes out of the window, you have a 25 per cent chance of getting promoted like the rest.

“I wouldn’t want to play us because we are capable of really special performances.

“We can only win this next game and then go from there. That is what it all boils down to now.”

READ MORE: Why George Johnston is confident for the play-offs.

Wanderers have struggled for goals in their past few games and have seen nine so-called ‘critical’ chances fall by the way-side against Accrington, Shrewsbury and Burton.

Evatt is mindful of going overboard with his reaction, however, with the confidence of his attacking players so key to finishing the season strongly.

“When you analyse the last three games, the data surrounding the game, the xG etc, there are two ways of looking at it. You can have a short-term mindset, say to the lads ‘it was cr*p, the performance was rubbish, we didn’t do this, that or the other,” he said.

“Or you can try and look at it with a longer-term view and say ‘if we keep creating those chances, you’ll eventually start scoring them.’ “Now we’re caught in the middle. We want there to be five games left, but we know there are definitely two, and we have to get it right in the short term but also have some vision and remind ourselves that a lot of what we are doing is okay.

“We need to cross from better areas at times – but do we need to throw the ball in from the touchline against set defences of players at 6ft 4ins, 6ft 5ins? No, of course not. We’ll lose.

“When you lose one in the manner that we did on Tuesday you’re up for criticism, me more than anybody. And I will take it on the chin.

“But I can only be bothered about trying to make us better. That’s better in the future and better on Saturday.”

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