Ian Evatt says Wanderers have been “full tilt” in their preparation for Wembley as they aim to overcome Oxford and secure a return to the Championship.

A significant portion of the Bolton squad were involved in the EFL Trophy final victory against Plymouth in front of nearly 80,000 supporters last year.

For those who weren’t, there has been plenty of advice shared around the dressing room about what to expect and how to handle the occasion.

“It is great that a large number of the squad had success there last season and with all the preparation, the travel, the accommodation, we know what worked. We can follow that plan,” Evatt explained.

“But the ones who were not involved, there have been lots of comforting words and advice.

“We had a meeting on Saturday morning about how to win at Wembley. And that isn’t done on the day, it is about the work and the process leading up to it.

“We have to remain focused with eyes on what the prize is, of course, but it is equally about the journey to the prize.

“We have trained aggressively and intensely, and that is sometimes not an easy thing to do when you know there is a big final ahead.

“Players want to protect themselves, they don’t want to be injured, they might back-off a little bit. That is not the way for us, we are full tilt. We want to be ready for a huge game at Wembley.”

The Bolton News: Wanderers are hoping to build on last season's Wembley joyWanderers are hoping to build on last season's Wembley joy (Image: Camerasport)

Oxford edged past Peterborough over two legs to set up a grand finale against Wanderers, which Evatt knows is “no mean feat”.

The Bolton boss has been impressed by the U’s performances since their heavy defeat at the Toughsheet Community Stadium in March and insists Saturday's tie will be far from straightforward.

“It was a great result for us at the time and very good performance. Obviously, it will motivate them and we can take some confidence from it,” said the manager.

“But these one-off games, as we have seen all along with the play-offs, can throw up some really strange results and circumstances.

“The one thing we can control on the day is that we play well. If we perform well, it gives us the best opportunity to do well.”

He added: “Des (Buckingham) has done a great job, post-result here they have really picked up. It almost brought them together.

“To beat Peterborough over two legs is no mean feat, it is a tough thing to do. They showed great character and resilience in both games and had quality as well. They will be highly motivated and they will want to put the record straight from the game here.

“Everyone looks at that game and thinks this will be straightforward for us, but it is the complete opposite. There is a lot to play for, a lot to lose, and our players need to concentrate and focus on the job.”

The Whites seemed to have wrapped up their semi-final against Barnsley after a quickfire double from Aaron Collins and Eoin Toal, but the Tykes hit back to set up a nervy ending.

In hindsight, Evatt is actually glad about the way things turned out and believes it “sharpened” his side’s focus.

“It wasn’t fun on the night but when we had chance to take the emotion out of it and look at the game independently, I think it is the best thing that could have happened, I genuinely think that,” Evatt continued.

“The last 15 minutes will sharpen our tools a bit. We know we can’t take anything for granted and that we must stay on it for 90-plus minutes.

“We realise we could have lost it. We didn’t because over the two legs we deserved to be there, we must not forget the 160 minutes prior to that spell.

“It sharpened our focus and come Saturday I believe the players will put in a very strong performance.”