'Concentrate on your own club', Bolton Wanderers boss tells Wigan Athletic fans

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Bolton boss Ian Evatt has told Wigan Athletic supporters to 'concentrate on their own club like we concentrate on ours' ahead of this weekend's big derby at the DW Stadium.

Evatt has not been shy of an opinion this term, with several of his media musings – some indirectly, some very directly – pertaining to Latics.

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It started way back in July when, after pipping Latics to the signature of George Johnston, Evatt said: "We have been blown out of the water on one or two players that Wigan have offered stupid money to in League One".

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Ian Evatt has a chat with James McClean during Latics' Carabao Cup victory earlier in the campaignIan Evatt has a chat with James McClean during Latics' Carabao Cup victory earlier in the campaign
Ian Evatt has a chat with James McClean during Latics' Carabao Cup victory earlier in the campaign

Then, in October, he opined his side were 'the best team in League One' - days before they were hammered 4-0 by Latics on their own patch.

On the flip side, Latics manager Leam Richardson has opted to allow his side to do their talking on the field, regularly playing straight bats to any questions on opposition sides and their methods.

But Evatt - whose playing days included a successful spell under Richardson and Paul Cook at Chesterfield - won't be changing his approach in a hurry.

"Some of the things I say are provocative," he said. "I know I am provocative, there is no denying that.

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"But some of the things I say are for the benefit of my fans, my club and my players.

"It is not for them (Wigan fans) to read and want to listen to, I have no interest in them listening or reading what I have to say.

"They should concentrate on their own club like we concentrate on ours.

"Come the end of the season, if they have been promoted and we have not then they have been better than us and we will hold our hands up and say, ‘congratulations, we will hopefully see you next year’. That is how it has to be.

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"Rivalries are there every season to get bragging rights, to play two really competitive matches and see who the better team is on the day.

"They were better than us here, we have full confidence to go there and try to be better than them on Saturday, and if we can then great."

Latics can take over leadership of League One with a win on Saturday - with a game still in hand over Rotherham.

And Evatt admits they are a 'benchmark' for his team to eventually try to follow.

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“Take away the rivalry and the local derby," he added in the Manchester Evening News. “It is a benchmark for us at the moment because they are in the automatic promotion positions and that is where we want to get to.

“It is a good marker of how far we have come since January, a great test and no excuses this time.

"We have got a fully fit squad more or less, lots of good players and we will be ready. We have worked really well this week.

"We have tweaked one or two things, looking at ways we can hurt them, and we will see come Saturday.”