15 January 2022

Ian Evatt wants win over Ipswich to be turning point for Bolton

15 January 2022

Boss Ian Evatt hopes Bolton’s 2-0 win over Ipswich which ended a run of five consecutive defeats is the “first step in a new journey”.

Kieran Lee and top-scorer Dapo Afolayan struck in the space of eight second-half minutes as the Trotters celebrated a League One victory for the first time since November 23.

“This does not change things and make us a good team,” said Evatt, who has come under fire from some fans during the side’s slip down the table.

“But I don’t think we became a bad team either. We are going to go through some sticky patches.

“This has been an extended sticky patch, so I am delighted with the result.

“We have suffered for a long time, so it is one we wanted and needed.

“I like to think I know what I am doing, though some of the fans may not think so the last couple of months

“But this is a journey for the whole football club and there is a long way to go. There will be players coming in and others going out.

“This is the first building block, a first step in a new journey hopefully.”

Bolton kicked off with only four players from the team that won 5-2 at Portman Road last September.

Their line-up included debutants Aaron Morley, signed from from Rochdale, and 19-year-old goalkeeper James Trafford, on loan from Manchester City.

“I am delighted for both of them,” Evatt said. “For James to step in to a pressure game with a big crowd, I thought he was excellent.

“Aaron sees pictures and passes and he is only going to get better.”

The defeat was a first for Kieran McKenna since taking over as Ipswich manager in mid-December.

“It wasn’t a bad performance, there were elements of the game we were pleased with,” he said.

“We started well and for the first 25 minutes we controlled the game.

“The worst part was the end of the first half when we went away from what we did well. The game became scatty and random from our point of view.

“We went away from the principles which have worked well for us in the last couple of weeks.

“We got up to the edge of the box a lot but didn’t penetrate enough or create enough chances. When you do that the game is still open.

“Then we conceded two poor goals really out of nothing, so we end up going home empty-handed and disappointed.

“The game was there for us. We were building pressure and starting to get some chances. But that is when you need to be at your most focused.

“We don’t want to accept defeat and we have disappointed players. But in reality we know it is not going to be smooth sailing.

“This is definitely a step back, but if we are clever there is a lot we can learn from the game.”

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