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Wanderers won't veer from their winning blueprint at Wembley, says Ian Evatt

Ian Evatt and Gethin Jones get a closer look at the Papa Johns Trophy last season <i>(Image: Camerasport)</i>
Ian Evatt and Gethin Jones get a closer look at the Papa Johns Trophy last season (Image: Camerasport)

WANDERERS will follow their Papa Johns Trophy-winning blueprint to the letter as they inch towards the League One play-off final.

Ian Evatt’s side will travel to the capital and train at Brentford, just as they did before beating Plymouth Argyle so convincingly at Wembley in 2023.

The Whites will have a walk around the stadium and the surrounding area on Friday, giving players who were not involved last year a chance to settle in and see where their families and friends will be situated.

But when Saturday strikes, the Bolton boss says the team agenda will contain nothing but business.

“We know what worked before and we will be following that same plan,” he told The Bolton News.

“A lot of the work is done prior to Wembley, now I know that sounds strange when you are playing in a one-off game, but it is all about the preparation and how diligent you are into achieving a good performance.

“Saturday when you turn up it is important you don’t get caught up in the lights. You go there, it is strictly business. There are no phones, we are not there for tourism, we are there to win.

“That is what we got right last year and it gives us a blueprint for next season but the players have to go out there and execute the gameplan, simple as it sounds. If we can, we have a good chance.”

Evatt played in 11 play-off games as a player, including three Wembley finals for Chesterfield and Blackpool. As such, he feels confident that his formula in the build-up to the game gives his players the best possible opportunity.

“I can only advise what I think is right,” he said. “I try my best to give my players the best possible information. And in my opinion the tourism has to stop the day before.

“We are there at Wembley for business and that can only be achieved with laser focus. It can’t be done if you are taking selfies and pictures of the stadium on the day of the game.

“When you are there on matchday, it is matchday, and we are there to do a job.”

Wanderers have no new injury issues in the build-up to Wembley – a venue that many feel is unique in football, often posing different challenges to the players.

Evatt feels the big pitch – re-laid after the Women’s FA Cup final at the weekend – should hold no fears for his team.

“The groundsman assures me that the dimensions of Wembley are exactly the same as they are here, which is helpful,” he said. “The outside looks slightly different but the pitch geography is the same.

“We like the big, open pitch, we are an athletic team, we want to make use of that on the day. In theory it should suit us but as I have said many times, it is down to us to go and execute the gameplan.

“In a one-off game anything can happen and you don’t always get what you deserve in football but to get what we deserve we have to play well, and we’ll be doing our best to do that.”