IAN Evatt insists Wanderers can escape League One without breaking the bank.

The club has placed automatic promotion as a very public target this season after missing out in the play-offs back in May.

That chase resumes this afternoon with the visit of recently promoted Northampton Town, and the Whites hoping to pick up a win which could lift them as high as third.

Evatt has come under some pressure from the fans over the scale of his summer recruitment, with some claiming his squad is still short in some key areas.

But the Bolton boss has defended his decisions, maintaining the club would never gamble on the bigger playing budgets of Sunderland, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan and the like, who have all been promoted in recent years.

“This is our third season in League One, I think it took Sunderland seven [Edit: four] years to get out, spending a whole lot more money than we have. Ipswich even longer, I believe.

“Everyone knows I am extremely ambitious and I don’t want to be in League One very long, and that’s no disrespect to this level, I just want to do the best I can.

“The best I can is aligned with the best that Bolton can. We are honest enough to say that we are not going to spend the money that those clubs have, we’re just not.

“We are spending less than half of what they (Sunderland and Ipswich) did. But the expectation is the same, so it has its own challenges. It is our choice to have that challenge, to do it in what we deem is a sustainable way for this football club.

“We will do the best we can but we haven’t taken the risks and the gambles those other clubs have done, spending a hell of a lot of money trying to get out of this level.

“We are confident we can do it in the model we have right now. Obviously, when we get to the Championship, whether that is next year or in the future, the word sustainable goes out of the window. It is impossible to compete and be sustainable in that division.

“Right now we can look at it, and maybe do it.

“I know the full picture. You guys know the full picture. It is important we try and stick together and be confident we can achieve what we want without risking the club.”

Defeat against Carlisle before the international break prompted a lot of questions about Wanderers’ suitability as a top-two side, and Evatt is well aware that his team has to work hard to win over their doubters in the coming weeks.

“I take it with a pinch of salt, and there is nobody more disappointed than me,” he said of the reaction to the Carlisle result.

“It passes quickly because there is nothing we can do to affect it, we can only be better and try to improve.

“Championship football is our ambition – but ambition and entitlement are two entirely different things, and we have to understand that.

“One thing I can promise is that we are going to lose again. It’s the nature of football. It is how you respond to those defeats that will define what we do this season.

“So far I think we have responded well and I am looking forward to another positive response against Northampton Town.”