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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
John McDougall

'Cut him some slack' - Ian Evatt issues Elias Kachunga verdict after Bolton Wanderers winner

Ian Evatt believes Elias Kachunga does not get the recognition he deserves for how he helps Bolton Wanderers play after he netted the winner in Papa Johns Trophy clash against Barrow and offers much more than goals.

The Whites took the lead in the 3-2 win when Dapo Afolayan slotted home from a lovely ball from MJ Williams. They doubled their advantage soon after that when Kieran Sadlier put in a low cross for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson to tuck home.

But the visitors were handed a way back into the game when Joel Dixon could not hold onto Ben Whitfield's shot and Josh Kay eventually turned home. It gave the visitors a route back into the encounter.

READ MORE:Bolton Wanderers player ratings vs Barrow - Dapo Afolayan and Elias Kachunga good in victory

After the break, the visitors levelled as Niall Canavan nodded home from close range after Josh Gordon flicked on from a corner. However, the Whites went back ahead as Kachunga slotted home after Afolayan's shot came off the post.

Despite late pressure from the Bluebirds, Wanderers hung on to book their place in the last 16 with a 3-2 victory. The goal was Kachunga's second of the season.

The former Huddersfield Town forward has never been a prolific striker in front of goal, but he offers many other aspects in that area of the pitch which Evatt believes deserves recognition. He feels the forward needs to be cut some slack owing to the sacrificial job he does for the team, which helps bring out the best in other.s

Evatt said:“Kacha is very much a team player and I think he sometimes does not get the recognition he deserves for that team play. He’s great at receiving, really reliable, works hard out of possession, presses really intensely and intelligently and he probably would argue his goal record isn’t great, but there’s other things that he offers to the team that enables it to function.

“I’ve been really pleased with how he’s performed so far this season. The goals hopefully will come and we’ll start putting him into better areas, but sometimes he’s the sacrificial one that looks to build and is not the one in the box or running in behind. We need to cut him some slack on that I think.

“He’s an intelligent player and especially when we play Dapo as a nine or 10, those two rotate quite fluidly so if Dapo is playing as a nine, he loves to come into the pocket to receive, Kacha recognises that and goes on the last line or vice versa.

“He offers so much more to the team than goals and I think we need to appreciate that.

“Centre forwards will always be judged on goals and people want to see centre forwards score goals if you’re labelled as that. But he offers so much more than just that.

“He’s flexible, fluid, intelligent, he understands the game and sometimes it’s him that is the sacrificial one to drag people out of spaces and come short and receive in pockets of space to help the build.

“I haven’t got a problem with Kacha’s performances. I think he’s been really good so far this season.”

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