Bolton Wanderers are back in League One action this weekend when they take on Port Vale.
The Whites take on the Valiants this weekend at Vale Park. Wanderers aim aiming to continue their good start to the season which has given them four points from their first two matches.
This weekend's opponents Vale won promotion to League Two via the play-offs last season. Darrell Clarke's side will be aiming to cement their status in the third tier of English football this season and avoid the drop as a minimum.
READ MORE: Declan John & Ricardo Santos Bolton Wanderers injury update ahead of Port Vale clash
Ahead of the clash, Wanderers boss Ian Evatt held a pre-match press conference and here's a transcript of what he had to say to broadcasters.
You’ll go to Vale Park in good form and good heart?
“In good form but completely different test and challenge to what we faced the last two games. Away from home, we need to replicate what we’ve been doing here the last two games. History says that it’s an intimidating place and a difficult place to go so we know what to expect, we’ve just got to make sure we execute our game plan and implement our style and idea and hopefully that’s enough.”
What’s the most difficult part of putting that into practice?
“There’s lots of variables away from home. We’ve got opposition crowd, a different pitch, different size of pitches, the travel implications, lots of variables away from home and we just need to get ourselves into a mindsight of being us regardless really.
“Hopefully we can replicate that on Saturday and then we’ve got two big home games following that.”
You’ve got to get your mindset around team selection? Is that difficult and a good problem to have?
“Yeah, I much prefer it this way to what it was early last season to be honest. In terms of team selection, obviously everything is difficult at the moment because everyone seems to be in good form and playing very well, but they understand that we’ve still got a lot of games this month and we’re already nearly halfway through it.
“Everyone is going to be needed and I thought what we did against Salford really highlighted a case in point that we are a strong squad, a strong group and there’s very little drop off or weakness when we rotate things around.”
Is the Port Vale 6-3 game here a few seasons ago any extra motivation or has it been and gone?
“Yeah but we actually won 1-0 there at Port Vale last time so I’d rather think about that game than the one here. I think sometimes games like that give you a sense of perspective of how far we’ve actually evolved and travelled in that short space of time and it was not even two years ago.
“It’s amazing the journey we’ve been on.”
As we speak, it’s three years ago today since Bolton played Coventry and fielded their youngest ever team - it’s a big illustration of how far this club has come in that time?
“Yeah and obviously in that first year I wasn’t here, but the work that Sharon and the rest of the board have done with those kids that were so brave on that day and performed so well is amazing. This club has been on a phenomenal journey for the last three years and hopefully, like I said before, it’s only just beginning and we’re starting to see the fruits of everybody’s labour.”
Would you be connected still with the transfer market? You’re not too far away from the window closing? Would you expect to be active?
“I don’t think we’ll be inactive is more what I’d rather say. I’m happy with what we’ve got, but obviously there’s always likely to be ins and outs towards the end of a window and I believe there will be more with this window.
“Whether that comes to fruition we’ll see, but the closed sign and not open for business is not up yet. We’re still very much trying to be proactive and improve where we can.”
You thought Salford would offer a stern test and despite the scoreline, was that given to your players?
“I felt there were moments that they asked us questions and challenged us. I thought the first 20 minutes, their counter attack was quite quick and incisive – especially down their right-hand side and it culminated in a goal for them.
"Then, we went through the gears. As I said, we probably got a little bit angry and then played with more tempo, more intensity and more quality. The second goal, 31 passes and 32 in the net. Having watched it back again multiple times, because it makes me very happy, every player actually touched the ball as well at some stage in the move. It is one for the coaches, that one!”
What do you think needs to be done in this mini period where it's two games a week in order to still have intensity?
“Different teams will ask our pressing strategy different questions, and I thought the way Salford – with the right-back in a 4-2-3-1 rolled inside and almost created that overload in midfield – it just took us 20 minutes to get used to who jumped and when they jumped, and how quickly they jumped. I thought the real ‘half-a-yard off’ was in wide areas but once we rectified that midway through the first half, we solved the problems and then went on to win the game comfortably.”
You mentioned Declan John had stomach cramps and a possible virus - any updates you can provide at this stage?
“He was vomiting all last night, so he is obviously poorly with the virus. He has been off today and we will know more on Thursday."
Elias Kachunga mentioned all the players just want to keep pushing each other on and no resentment towards anyone who is starting and those that aren't, the cup matches can provide the opportunity to show what you can do?
“I think they will be needed in the league games as well! You don’t win promotions or compete by having the same 11 players all throughout the season.
You have got to have a strong squad. As I said, the players can be disappointed with me and can be upset with me. I am happy to take that on the chin because it is me who selects the team. But when they are with the players and when they step out on the grass, or when they are training, their attitude needs to be together and needs to be as one.
"That is that really. I don’t expect players out of the team to be happy but what I do expect is a level of professionalism and courtesy to support the ones who are in the team because when the roles are reversed, they need and want the other players’ support as well.
"The players have been really good at that. They understand it is a good squad and it is competitive. They understand it is a long season. We are all looking forward to it. We are excited and we will see where it takes us.”
Up next is Port Vale and going up against one of the promoted teams - what do you think they will have to offer on their home patch?
“The pitch is huge, which is a positive for us. That is a good start.
"When you enter the stadium and you see their fans, it does have that fear factor. We have to rise about that fear factor and be the best version of ourselves.
"We know they are going to ask us questions defensively. We know they are going to put us under pressure, we know they are very strong from set-pieces.
"A bit like Wycombe really, we have to stand up to all of the above and the make sure that when we get the chance to build and attack, we do it incisively and progressively and show good execution. It is as simple as that.”
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