MATCH REACTION: Ian Evatt gives his verdict on the 2-2 draw against Stockport

·3-min read
MATCH REACTION: Ian Evatt gives his verdict on the 2-2 draw against Stockport
MATCH REACTION: Ian Evatt gives his verdict on the 2-2 draw against Stockport

IAN Evatt hopes Conor Bradley’s razor-sharp finish for Wanderers at Stockport was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Liverpool loanee scored Bolton’s second goal of the day as they drew 2-2 at County’s Carrington training ground in their third pre-season outing.

Bradley played the last half an hour and made an immediate impact at right wing-back in what has been an encouraging start to life with the Whites since his loan move from Anfield.

“It was a lovely pass from George Johnston and a wonderful first touch and finish,” said Evatt of Bradley’s 65th minute strike. “He’s a young player with huge potential but we don’t want to build him up too high.

“We’ve just got to keep working with him, enjoy his football and hopefully we’ll see a lot more things like that this season.”

Evatt admitted that County had been a tougher proposition than non-league sides Longridge and Chorley, who had made up the opposition in the first two friendly games.

And the Bolton boss said the performance had been somewhat of a mixed bag, with the League Two hosts still brimming with confidence after their promotion from the National League last year.

“I think there was positives and negatives and you’re going to get that at this stage of pre-season and this stage of our preparation,” he said. “It’s just a work in progress and I saw some things that we’ve been working on, some really good things and obviously some that are not so good.

“But it was a much more competitive game, number one, and number two, just our sharpness really in front of goal especially. I think we had some really good opportunities first half that we created really well. Some of our combination play was good and sharp, but then just that composure to finish.

“It was a fair result and a good exercise for both teams.”

Dion Charles was the player who caught the eye in the first-half, linking up well with Amadou Bakayoko to create two good scoring opportunities.

The Northern Ireland international has returned from Nations League duty looking sharp and Evatt feels his overall game is also improving.

“He does so much good work in and out of possession, the way he sets the press, he’s aggressive with his work. He’s becoming more reliable in possession.

“Some of his hold up play is really good, and then it’s just to simplify his game after that initial hold up play, but I’m really pleased with him.

“Jon was carrying a bit of a niggle so managed himself just to get minutes in his legs. Kacha and Baka also did lots of good work, so I’m pleased with the front lads at the minute.”

Elias Kachunga also made it three goals in three friendly games with a header to bring his side level in the second half.

“The most pleasing goal for me was the first one because that’s kind of the way we press together and the way the front players in particular and the two strikers and the 10 work as a unit to contain their back players,” he said of Kachunga’s goal.

“When to jump, how to jump, with what intensity and I think we got it spot on there. A couple of times in the second half when young Conor came on, you could see the way he reads the jump and the timing of the jump and then is so aggressive and intense with it, he’s a good prospect.”

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