Manchester

Bolton boss Ian Evatt on MK Dons, Cheltenham postponed, team choices & Portsmouth question mark

The Whites make the trip to take on the Dons following the postponement of all EFL action due to the passing away of Queen Elizabeth II. Matches were called off as a mark of respect to the late monarch, who died at the age of 96 on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral in Scotland.

The fixture schedule will recommence tomorrow after the EFL confirmed the tributes which will be in place at all matches. A minute's silence will be held before each game, black armbands will be worn and the National Anthem will be played before kick-off, with all flags will be flown at half-mast too.

It means Bolton's planned trip to Cheltenham Town over the weekend was called off and will have to be rearranged. This morning, Wanderers boss Ian Evatt spoke to the press ahead of tomorrow evening's clash against the Dons and here's a transcript of what he had to say to broadcasters.

With the game being postponed at the weekend, does that affect your thinking?

I think what team I would have picked on Saturday will be completely different to the team I pick tomorrow night. Thats just football and obviously the circumstances that we find ourselves in is unprecedented so unfortunately for some of the lads that would have played on Saturday, its a missed opportunity but there will be others coming along pretty quickly.

Was it a surprise, how do you feel about the games being called off?

Immediately my first thought was off the back of how sad it all is, was that I thought it would be postponed so we prepared for that. I dont think theres a right or wrong answer and I think it was a really difficult decision for the authorities.

What I would have liked to have probably happened is either all sports are in or theyre not and either way, I think with the cricket and the Formula 1 over the weekend, it was a brilliant opportunity to pay their respects to the Queen and what she did for this country.

Im not upset with the decision at all. In my opinion, its probably the right one, but it would have also been nice to publicly everybody show their appreciation for someone that served our country so well.

What do you expect from MK Dons? Have they changed massively from last season?

No I dont think so. I think theyve had a topsy turvy start to the season, a bit inconsistent but theyve lost some very good players and replaced them and replacing them takes time for them to implement their idea and style of play.

Theyve had some excellent performances away at Morecambe, I watched that game, and had some indifferent ones as well, but we know its always going to be a challenge.

Fortunately for us, its quite similar to the Charlton game in terms of style of play and the way they want to play, so its a similar game plan and opportunity for us.

Is there any concern as it looks as though the Portsmouth game is going to be off in a couple of weeks – is there any catch-up there?

Once Id had time to process everything that was happening, my initial concern was there was lots of reports about 10 days of mourning and no football at all. That would have meant we wouldnt have played in the league until October, which was a huge break.

But fortunately thats not the case and hopefully as a sport we can all show our appreciation for the Queen this week. Its obviously challenging but weve got a great squad of players. We were able to play 11 v 11 on Saturday in a really intense training session which enabled us to get some work into the players and then we prepared for tomorrow night.

Any injuries or unavailability?

Jon is back. Its maybe too soon for him for Tuesday, but certainly for the weekend hell be fine. Everyone else is okay.

There is a potential international break with the Portsmouth game being delayed, so how do you reflect on how the season has gone so far?

I guess well cross that bridge when we come to it. I think if we can win these next two games, itll be an excellent start to the season and well probably be more or less bang on target.

I know it sounds strange but this week defines whether its been an average start or a good start and hopefully we can get the points required to get a very good start and we can kick on from there.

Weve had a lot of goals from midfield and defence, are we going to see the attacking players scoring goals soon?

Hopefully so, weve created enough opportunities and chances for them. I think they will all say and be honest enough that they should have all been on the scoresheet in the league. Its not the case, but its no bad thing that weve had a decent start and no strikers have scored yet so it shows you were creating chances, we're sharing the goals around the team and if the strikers can catch fire, which we hope they can, then its a good sign for us.

Will you start implementing more squad rotation with an extra fixture pileup coming up with the games that have been postponed?

After the next few weeks, but the games are sporadic enough with the international break and the postponement on Saturday for us to really target games with what we think is the best 11 to win that game and thats how it will be.

On MK Dons, what should we be looking out for in terms of their threats?

I think its just the same as what they were last season really. Theyre an attractive team, good football, in possession theres lots of rotation, lots of movement, lots of bravery, and well respect the opposition as we always do.

But focus fully on our performance and what we try and do and judge ourselves on how well we implement our game plan on the opposition and hopefully we can do the same to them as what we did to Charlton and be really aggressive, win the ball with high regains and then punish them with our moments. After the game on Tuesday will tell us whether weve got it right or wrong but were looking forward to the game.

Don't miss a thing from the club you love! For all the latest updates on Wanderers, sign up to our free newsletter packed with all the latest news here.

READ NEXT:

'Drives me' – Bolton's George Thomason on intense midfield competition & why squad accept rotation