IT’S 10am on a bitterly cold Tuesday morning and two big cardboard boxes are being carted into the ticket offices at the Toughsheet Stadium ready for one more day of sales.

The Bristol Street Motors Trophy doesn’t often catch fans’ imagination, particularly in the earlier rounds. But this is the third time Wanderers have increased their allocation, and folk inside the offices don’t expect many of the 490 terrace tickets to be sent back.

More people will watch the Whites at Accrington tonight than did in their own stadium in the previous round against Port Vale.

The lure of a midweek Lancastrian away day, the nostalgia of an uncovered terrace, the proliferation of reasonably priced pubs, it all adds up.

It also puts some added pressure on Ian Evatt and his side to produce the goods.

After scrapping Premier League Luton Town to earn a replay at Kenilworth Road on Sunday afternoon some tired bodies turned up to a frosty training ground on Tuesday morning knowing that the counter has been reset. There won’t be any excuses made.

Evatt knows how expectant an away following can be, especially at the Wham Stadium (Crown Ground). Back in December 2021 he got dog’s abuse from a section of support with his injury-hit team smack bang in the middle of a poor run of results. Looking back with a smirk he recalled having “seven or eight” fit players at the time but, again, no concessions are granted.

Equally, he knows how that packed-out away end can have a positive effect. It roared on a 3-2 comeback win in October 2022 and the scenes in the Papa Johns Trophy semi-final as Elias Kachunga and Aaron Morley grabbed goals to take the Whites to Wembley will live long in the memory.

As of Tuesday morning, around 700 Accrington tickets had been sold, which means that Bolton could well outnumber the home crowd by three to one.

Evatt is banking on that vociferous travelling support to help combat any fatigue which might still be lingering from the FA Cup exertions.

“I have seen some of the ticket sales and, honestly, it is just incredible,” he said. “The fans continually back us and all we want to do is make them proud of this team. I think we are doing that.

“Everyone is fine from Sunday – there are no injuries – but it was really a physical performance, not in terms of distances covered but the high-speed sprinting distances. With how athletic Luton are we knew we would need to replicate it, but I thought we did a great job.

“We know what Accrington will bring, they won’t back down, they never do, especially at home.

“We are taking the game very seriously and we know they will have a point to prove because of what happened in the semi-final last season. We need to be up for it.”

Wanderers don’t have the biggest squad in League One, particularly with Gethin Jones and Carlos Mendes Gomes away on international duty. But after a spate of injuries in September and early October which primarily affected new signings, they have managed to negotiate the winter months without too many major problems.

Dan Nlundulu is the main exception, and it now seems very likely that a striker will be brought in on loan this month to help cover for his absence.

At Accrington, Evatt hinted that he will shuffle his pack as far as is possible. Luke Matheson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Joel Coleman, Jack Iredale, Cameron Jerome, George Thomason, Aaron Morley and Zac Ashworth all started on the bench at Luton. Leigh-born Wanderers fan Conor Lewis was also an unused replacement who could come into the equation.

Even before the players took to the turf on Tuesday morning, Evatt had detected a positive vibe which he feels will stand his side in good stead.

“They all seem to be in a really good place at the moment,” he said. “To play the way we want to play you have to be confident, you have to believe in yourselves, and to be honest we could have trusted ourselves a bit more on Sunday, especially for about 20-25 minutes in the second half.

“I do think we could have played better, and I think some of the players think that as well, they came off the pitch on Sunday and felt that maybe it was there for us. Maybe we could have won that game? It is great credit because Luton are a great team who are really difficult to play against and their performances in the Premier League underline that.

“We have 10 games in 35 days now, so we are going to have to utilise the whole group, the whole squad, and we have no issue with that at all. I trust each and every one of them and they all have that confidence flowing through them.

“If we can keep everyone fit, healthy and in one piece I think we can keep producing good performances and consistent results.”