01 April 2024

Ian Evatt: That’s why Bolton paid the money for Aaron Collins

01 April 2024

Ian Evatt felt Aaron Collins proved his value after his hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Reading helped reignite Bolton’s promotion push in League One.

Collins, who moved from Bristol Rovers in January for a reported £750,000, opened the scoring after 11 minutes, converted a penalty in first-half stoppage time and completed his treble 13 minutes from time.

Icelandic striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson added a brace as Wanderers closed the gap on second-placed Derby to three points ahead of the Rams’ trip to table-toppers Portsmouth on Tuesday.

“Aaron is capable of magic moments and that first goal was a bit special,” said Evatt, whose side had failed to score in their previous two outings.

“He showed why we paid the money for him.

“With all of our January signings since I have been here, it is always the second season you see the benefit of them.

“That will be the case with Aaron as well. We have signed him for the long term and we know he is capable of special things.

“He is getting used to how we play. And he is playing within the structure more now which is good.”

Bolton had won just two of their previous eight games to slip out of the automatic promotion places, but their return to form puts the pressure back on Derby.

“The most important thing was the win,” Evatt added.

“When we perform like that we are a difficult team to stop.

“We could have got more goals which is a frustration. If it comes down to that we will look back on that second half thinking we had great opportunities and then conceded a sloppy one.”

Reading played their part in an entertaining game.

Lewis Wing cancelled out Collins’ opener while substitute Paul Mukairu netted in stoppage time.

Royals boss Ruben Selles said: “Every game we play, we try to play on the front foot to apply pressure.

“Sometimes it doesn’t work and we open up spaces, like it happened today.

“But it is the way we know how to perform. It is the way we can create chances for ourselves.

“The pressure was not effective in the first half of the game and we conceded a goal. We came back to 1-1 and started to play a bit more forward.

“The penalty before half-time was a big change of momentum. If we arrived at half-time at 1-1 then the second half would be much different.

“Even at 3-1 (down) we still created chances. But the fourth goal was the one that closed the game.

“We had one of the best opponents in League One in front of us and I am sure after that game we will be better when we adjust a few things.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox