ONCE described by Ian Evatt as ‘Revels’ – Wanderers have been revelling in the opportunity to tear down their stereotypes in the last few weeks.

Not all that long ago, you never knew quite what you were going to get when the Whites took the field – a classy in-possession side, one vulnerable to direct football or easily frustrated, or perhaps a mixture of all three?

But just recently a calmness and consistency has characterised Bolton’s performances which if replicated against Blackpool on Saturday afternoon should make this international break a lot more comfortable than the last.

Rattled by a home defeat against Carlisle United on October 7, Evatt’s claim that it had simply been a “bad day at the office” was not necessarily shared by those who feared a slender squad was not fit for an automatic promotion chase.

Yet just a month later, a win against the Tangerines could lift Wanderers above managerless Oxford United and even level on points with the long-unbeaten Portsmouth at the very top of the League One table – a scenario that even the ultra-confident Whites boss would have only imagined in his most fanciful moments.

With five consecutive wins in all competitions, Wanderers attempt a half-dozen on Saturday for only the second time in Evatt’s time as manager. The last occasion was back in the soulless empty stadia of the League Two season, as results against Stevenage, Mansfield, Southend, Scunthorpe, Barrow and Oldham helped the club rocket into promotion contention.

This run to third spot has been mixed with cup success but with more than 22,000 fans expected to walk through the turnstiles at the Toughsheet, there may be one more trope that Wanderers wish to extinguish before another international reset.

Big crowds have not always equated with big performances for this team. Take out the brilliant win against Plymouth Argyle in last season’s Papa Johns Trophy final at Wembley – a game officiated by Ben Toner, who is also in charge tomorrow – and this team has tended to suffer when more eyes are fixed upon it.

This season’s wins against Lincoln City and Derby County already suggests improvement, and few will need a reminder of what happened against Sunderland a couple of years ago. But in Evatt’s whole time as manager of Bolton his team has won four, drawn three and lost seven of 14 games played in front of 20,000-plus fans.

Bearing in mind that Wanderers’ home record under the current manager has generally been excellent, the negative results and performances in those big atmospheres do feel somewhat incongruous. If, as Evatt claimed earlier this week, he does enjoy silencing critical voices, then this is another ideal opportunity.

Aside from Evatt’s back history with Blackpool, where he played for seven years and made more than 250 appearances, there is another statistical curiosity which both sides will be looking to wipe out this season.

It has been 37 years and 13 visits since a Blackpool side managed to win on Bolton turf – that coming in the old Division Three at Burnden Park.

Hoping 14th time in the charm, Neil Critchley was present at Shrewsbury on Tuesday night to watch Bolton’s latest win, although one would suspect this weekend’s game to be played in a much more open and expansive fashion.

By comparison, it is 46 years since a Wanderers team last won a league game at Bloomfield Road. The last dozen games – including a couple which involved Evatt – have been fruitless, although supporters of a certain vintage will remember celebrations after a Sherpa Van Trophy Northern Final in 1989, when Steve Thompson’s penalty earned an aggregate victory and a return to Wembley.

If Wanderers had proved their evolution in Charles Darwin’s Shrewsbury, then no better place than Bolton to make more of their supporters cotton on.

From a team and manager who eschewed detailed set pieces, and whose record against the more direct teams in the lower divisions was less than satisfactory, there have been signs of late that Evatt’s ‘Revels’ are now more predictable, and with it, stable.

Some sceptics remain, but if the Whites can send the majority of a big crowd home happy on Saturday, then we might start associating something altogether most constructive with this side, one who can win games when it really counts.