SHARON Brittan will back Ian Evatt to lead Wanderers into the new League One season.

Speaking exclusively to The Bolton News, the Whites chairman has confirmed that both the manager and sporting director, Chris Markham, have the full support of the board and its investors.

And furthermore, it has been agreed to increase a playing budget which ranked fifth in the division last season to ensure the club can compete once again at the right end of the table.

Defeat in the play-off final against Oxford United hit hard, and Ms Brittan admitted that it took several days to put the Wembley disappointment into some context and to start thinking about what happens next.

"Coming away from that game was such a horrible, horrible feeling," she said.

“Chris Markham said to me that he’d never seen anyone in football more devastated than Ian was after that defeat, not just the result, but the manner of the defeat.

“I met with Ian last week and, like me, he’d needed some time to process what happened.

“They are both fantastic, different in what they do but very smart, very driven, loyal, and all three of us just needed some time to think about what had happened before we reviewed the season in its entirety and what they need to do next season to make sure we are absolutely fit for purpose and ready to go. And we will be.”

Evatt and his players came in for criticism from sections of the fanbase after missing out on promotion – and his post-Wembley admission that changes would be inevitable this summer also led to speculation over his own position.

Now the longest-serving manager in League One and sixth across the top four divisions in England, Evatt has seen his side miss out at the play-off stage in consecutive years.

But crucially he retains the faith of the club’s board and Ms Brittan hopes that all fans will back her judgement.

“I need the supporters to trust me and know that every single thing I am doing is for the very best interest of the business,” she said.

“Every decision I make is in the best interest of this football club.

“I am brave, I am fearless, I have a soft side and I work in mental health and I’m passionate about working with the community but believe me I have a steely side. If I have to make tough decisions, I will absolutely make them.

“But I want the best people running this football club and I believe we have them.”

The chairman has promised that the club will not simply look to “go again” this summer and will look into any realistic improvements it can make to the business to give Wanderers the best possible chance next season.

“I am doing a root and branch review across the entire business to make sure everyone who is in place isn’t just fit for purpose but they excel. And that is in all areas of the business,” said Ms Brittan.

“Ian and Chris excel in what they do. They certainly couldn’t put any more into it than they do. They both care hugely, they are incredibly respectful of money, of the way I run the business, they don’t make demands, they work within the parameters that me and the board offer them.

“We accept this season from a financial standpoint we will have to increase the investment to make sure we are up there, we are competitive. But I have to caveat that – because we were almost there, last season. Almost isn’t good enough but we were nearly there with the fifth biggest budget in League One, and that is because of how smart they work.”