Neil Critchley hailed Ian Evatt for what he achieved at Blackpool – but knows it will be business as usual this weekend.

Evatt spent seven years at Bloomfield Road as a player and was a key member of the squad that won promotion to the Premier League under Ian Holloway.

The Bolton boss is now preparing to go up against his former club for the first time since heading into management.

“It can happen in football, because football takes you on many different routes,” Critchley told The Blackpool Gazette.

“Your journeys are so different and Ian is obviously doing a really good job at Bolton now. He played in a really successful period in Blackpool’s history.  

“Quite rightly he’ll be fondly remembered for that moment in time, but when we come up against each other on Saturday we’re now rivals and we’re now trying to take three points off of each other.” 

Blackpool currently sit eighth in the League One table as they aim to bounce back from last season’s relegation from the Championship.

"It's good to go up against the best teams in the league and see where you're at,” Critchley added. “So far we have more than matched those teams at the top end of the league. Bolton is as tough a test as you get away from home particularly with the form that they're in. 

“We know that we are going to have to be right at it and at our A-game. If we are then we know then we can certainly cause Bolton some problems, so it's got the makings of a great game.

“It's got a good following, a good crowd and a good atmosphere. These are the games you want to be involved in as a coach and as a player. 

"I think that they’re a really good team and that they’ve improved year-on-year. They’ve shown progress on-and-off the pitch from being in a tough period. They have a clear way of playing and it is consistent.

"It’s testament to Ian and the job that he has done there with that group of players. You can see they’ve got a good understanding of who they want to be and how they try to play.

"It’s been built over time and they’ve improved. I think as a coach that’s all you want. If you’re given time you give yourself a chance of getting where you want to be and improving and that’s what Bolton have done."