IT will no doubt be remarked at some stage tonight that Portsmouth and Bolton met in the Premier League as recently as 2010, and that for much of the following decade the two clubs jostled to be poster boys for financial mismanagement and nefarious ownership.

After sampling such riches both fallen giants then tinkered with extinction, both dropped as far as League Two, and both now carry heavy expectation to return to football’s promised lands sometime soon.

Each club now operates with a financial stability unheard of when last they met in the top flight – April 24, 2010 - and a week in which UEFA informed Pompey that their precarious situation meant they could not compete in Europe the following season, despite having reached the FA Cup final.

But Pompey and Bolton are sufficiently big fish in a small pond to know they cannot sit in the third tier of English football for long and expect the locals to be happy. For tonight’s hosts this is the seventh season in this division whereas Wanderers are competing in their fourth campaign in five years.

Paul Cook, Kenny Jackett, Danny Cowley and now John Mousinho have attempted to get Portsmouth over the League One lip and back into the madhouse of the Championship – a venue which is sure to test any club’s grip on reality and sustainability.

This season, the former Oxford United and Burton Albion midfielder Mousinho seems to be getting somewhere, his side beaten only once in the league so far and harbouring real hopes of going up automatically after two play-off misses in 2019 and 2020.

“He has done really well, there’s no denying it,” said Evatt of his opposite number. “They have been really consistent, and they haven’t lost many games at all since he came in, so that is great credit to what he is building there.

“My focus is on here, on my own players, trying to get the best out of us.

“I have seen some really promising signs in the last few months but I think there is still improvement to come and we are working really hard to try and make that progress.”

Supporters of Portsmouth and Bolton will have long-since grown tired of the ‘club reborn’ narrative. Enough years have been spent travelling back and forth to Shrewsbury, Fleetwood and the like to feel they have turned the page on their troubled years and be building towards something more ambitious.

Tactically, the two teams are quite dissimilar. Portsmouth boast the division’s most potent threat from set pieces – their XG of 10.30 more than twice that of Bolton’s 5.01.

Mousinho’s side press high, press hard, and arguably have a physical edge, albeit one dulled slightly by the loss of top scorer Colby Bishop to injury.

Wanderers are unlikely to change their approach. Indeed, the complete faith that Evatt and his side have in the gameplan has proven to be one of their greatest strengths this season.

“This team is capable of creating chances and hurting opponents and we will continue to do that,” the manager said. “We won’t change for anyone.

“There might be one or two tactical things we tweak depending on the opposition but the overall philosophy is the same. We are going to try and dominate in every phase and hopefully we can do that on Monday.

“What we have done is really look at them and what personnel can help expose their weaknesses. That isn’t peculiar to me, it is how managers work and think, I am sure that they will be doing exactly the same.

“Hopefully I will get it right, I certainly have some great options. I have some great options to changing things in-game too, which might be important.

“However we start down there won’t necessarily be how we end. It is just making sure we play without fear, play our usual way. We have to be brave enough to take the ball in tight areas because they do press high, they are really aggressive, and we are going to have to deal with it, then exploit where we think the spaces will be.

“But we are ready for it. The players are really vibrant, they are enjoying their work. We did some preparation today and it all looked really positive.

“We have highlighted where we feel there are some weaknesses in them, and no doubt they will be doing the same to us. It all comes down to who executes best on the day.”