Evatt facing up to derby challenge

by Liam Hatton

During Ian Evatt‘s three years at Bolton Wanderers, he has served as the face of a rejuvenation.

Taking a club from 18th place in League Two to promotion, followed by a cup win and currently at the top of League One.

It was a little bit different on Tuesday however, with Evatt sent to the stands after a disagreement which resulted in him referring to a video he had seen to argue against Dion Charles’ second yellow card against Fleetwood.

He may be the face of Bolton, but he is also the ‘poster boy of mis-use of technology’, and has made every manager within the EFL aware that they cannot refer to technology on the touchline.

Luckily enough, Evatt will be available for what promises to be a feisty atmosphere against Wigan Athletic, but he will have to provide his team talk without Charles.

However, so far this season it is not Charles who leads the goal scoring charts - that falls on the shoulders of Victor Adeboyejo, who for all intents and purposes has just needed a full preseason to get up to speed.

“When you keep making those positions in the box surely it is going to fall for you,” the striker said to Wanderers TV after the 3-1 win over Fleetwood Town.

“All pre-season the gaffer was obviously saying to me how my positioning was in the box.

“All of us strikers know if we get in those positions, we will get a chance.”

Adeboyejo spoke about creating a ‘strikers union’ - an atmosphere amongst those at the club in which they better each other, effectively through friendly competition.

A welcoming theme this year has been the way in which Bolton have started games with a lightning pace - of their nine goals in the league over three games, seven of those have come in the first half.

It has surely been a message deployed by Evatt to get at teams from the off, ensuring there is little doubt that they can see games through without the need for too many late heroics.

That would be the perfect tonic for the encounter against Wigan, as another electric start would take the sting out of a near sell out derby day, which promises to be the first real test of this early season.

Emotions will run high, both from the crowd and on the pitch, with Evatt not likely to forget the 4-0 drubbing when Wigan last visited.

It promised to be a different encounter before the season, but Wigan for all of their issues from last year have started well and look to make some noise.

Losing Charles is not ideal, but there are options to step up. Does he go with Dan Nlundulu up front alongside Adeboyejo? Or will he play Carlos Mendes Gomes behind the Nigerian, allowing him to roam behind the defence to cause issues and find gaps of space?

It presents an interesting dilemma for Evatt, but you feel this is a game that lends in Bolton’s favour.

Derby day atmospheres are a different beast though, where form traditionally goes out of the window. It normally comes down to whoever manages the crowd’s expectations better on the day.

If Bolton are serious players this year, then this is a game they need to not only play well in, but also to manage the game in a professional matter.

Cool heads normally prevail as they say.


The Bolton News: Bolton Wanderers' Johan Elmander (9) celebrates with his team mates after scoring his side's first goal of the game against Wigan in 2010Bolton Wanderers' Johan Elmander (9) celebrates with his team mates after scoring his side's first goal of the game against Wigan in 2010 (Image: PA)

When is a derby not a derby?

by Tony Thompson

My grandad would turn in his grave if he thought Wigan Athletic were being dubbed as Bolton Wanderers’ greatest rivals.

The mere mention of Manchester United could wipe the smile off that man’s face and when he used to go and watch the Super Whites at Burnden Park, the relationship was a two-way street too.

But that was back in the day where Wigan were still in the Vanarama Rumbelows Paints league and since I have been watching football, first setting foot in Burnden in the early eighties, I have slowly come around to the Latics mattering. A bit.

Blackburn always felt like a good derby in the Premier League days because the two teams were so evenly matched, and that has also helped foster the animosity between Bolton and Wigan in recent years, as both clubs fell from grace. Like it or lump it, we have both been in the doldrums over the last decade.

I do know people who still refuse to accept that Saturday’s game is a ‘derby’ and some of them can be heard when Ricardo Santos gets the ball, screaming at him to “get it forward” and wondering why we don’t have a six-foot lump up front?

Most modern supporters have come to accept that with Bury starting from scratch, this is probably as good as it will get for a while. And after spending last season pretending that a Lancastrian connection with Accrington and Fleetwood was in any way exciting, I am happy to see them back in town, just so long as they don’t walk away with another 4-0 under their belt. That was as depressing an afternoon as I can recall.

I can still remember that game clear as day, not necessarily the football, because there wasn’t much of that knocking about, but the scenes outside the ground as young idiots gurned and gestured with half-drunk glasses of Dark Fruit cider in their hands, attempting to look intimidating. It is a very difficult look to pull off, particularly to those of us who went to Burnden in the 80s. We saw things, man.

I can’t go in person this time – but I’ll be happy if I can watch the highlights back tonight with a chicken biriyani and not get flashbacks.