IT was a long time ago, at a football club not very far away…

On December 27, 1977, as Ian Greaves led his Super Whites to victory at Blackpool to edge three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the Second Division, down in London’s Leicester Square Theatre, long queues had formed to watch the premiere of a space fairy-tale that had been getting some serious buzz since its release in the US seven months earlier.

George Lucas’s Star Wars would go on to become a cinematic phenomenon, breaking all box office records and launching an unparalleled franchise still making millions to this day.

But, rather like the Death Star, Wanderers failed to reach those same heights after the days of disco and they have not managed to win a game outright at Bloomfield Road in 14 visits ever since.

Frank Worthington and Neil Whatmore supplied the goals on a raucous night where tales from the 25,000-plus supporters definitely verged on the Dark Side.

There will be another sold out away contingent on Tuesday night for the quarter-final, which will also pit Ian Evatt against the club for whom he was most associated as a player.

The Bolton News: Ian Evatt in his playing days with Blackpool, challenging Cameron Jerome, then of Birmingham CityIan Evatt in his playing days with Blackpool, challenging Cameron Jerome, then of Birmingham City (Image: PA)

He was not even born the last time Bolton beat Blackpool at Bloomfield but after making more than 200 appearances for the club, including helping them into the Premier League, he admits the game carries some personal significance.

“Playing Blackpool at any stage is a big game for me and it carries emotion,” he told The Bolton News.

“I haven’t been back to Bloomfield Road as a manager and it will be great to have that experience.

“Yeah, the draw has opened up a bit now, for certain. We have said all along that we want to become the first team to retain that trophy and we will be doing all we can to make that happen.

“Of course the league is our ultimate priority, everyone knows what our targets are in League One, but we haven’t taken a backwards step in any competition this season. We are there to try and win.”

The Bolton News: Bolton Wanderers players celebrate in the dressing room after their semi-final win in 1989Bolton Wanderers players celebrate in the dressing room after their semi-final win in 1989 (Image: NQNW)

Wanderers HAVE celebrated a win at Bloomfield Road, albeit on aggregate.

Back in 1989, Julian Darby scored the only goal of the Northern semi-final first leg at Burnden, a match now chiefly memorable for the image of Blackpool’s Russell Coughlan bouncing a penalty off the side of Normid.

Another spot kick proved decisive in the second leg – and after the home side had levelled the score over 90 minutes it was not until extra time that Steve Thompson did the honours and booked safe passage to Wembley, where Bolton would play Fourth Division Torquay United.

Thirty-five years later Wanderers might have to channel the same sort of spirit if they are to continue their march towards another final in a competition which is rapidly gaining favour with the fanbase for providing midweek entertainment.

Wanderers have already made £110,000 in prize money alone from the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, not including gate receipts and streaming fees. They could add an extra £50,000 to that pot if they manage to make their way past Blackpool into the semi-finals.

Last season their triumph in the Papa Johns Trophy against Plymouth Argyle was worth well in excess of £300,000 in prize monies alone.

Evatt has sparked plenty of debate among supporters for his selection policy in the competition. Refusing to use the group stages as a platform for youngsters, like many of his promotion peers in League One, the BSM Trophy has proven fertile goalscoring ground, with 18 scored so far by a dozen different players. With Wembley just a couple of wins away, it seems unlikely he will deviate from that approach now.

Blackpool have beaten Barrow, Liverpool’s Under-21s, Morecambe, Barnsley and Burton on their way to the quarter-final and have been in decent form of late, unbeaten at home in the league since November.

Wanderers gave their automatic promotion chances a boost with a classy 4-1 win at Carlisle United on Saturday and will be able to bring in George Thomason, whose two-game league suspension does not apply to the BSM Trophy.