'Baptism of fire' - Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt's verdict on his pal Gary McSheffrey at Doncaster Rovers

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Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt says his old pal Gary McSheffrey’s first job in management with Doncaster Rovers has been a baptism of fire.

The two friends – who grew up playing together for Coventry Schoolboys – are reunited at the Eco-Power Stadium today with Rovers’ League One status hanging by a thread.

Rovers can’t be relegated today but failure to win would leave them on the brink of the drop.

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However, there will be no let up from Evatt’s Bolton today as they look to end the season with a flourish and secure a top ten finish.

Bolton boss Ian Evatt. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty ImagesBolton boss Ian Evatt. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Bolton boss Ian Evatt. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

“He had a very good playing career and he’s very passionate about the game, so it is no surprise to me that he has gone down the coaching route,” Evatt said on McSheffrey.

“He has been given a bit of a baptism of fire, probably as difficult a job as he could have got, and it hasn’t been easy for him to bring in players, in terms of the finance.

“When he took the team over they were virtually doomed but he has managed to pick up some great results – they won at MK Dons, they won at Sunderland – and he has given them a chance.

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“I hope he keeps them up and is given a chance with the job, going forward, but obviously those well-wishes only apply after the final whistle on Friday, for us it is strictly business and trying to get three points.

“We played in the same Coventry Schools team. He was part of the Coventry City set up and my dad chose that I should go to Derby away from him, the trouble-maker, and my other friends, and let me focus on my football.

“We have known each other since we were very, very young and have always had the same friendship group, so I am excited for him that he has this opportunity. I hope he gets time because it will take time for him to put his stamp on things.

“He has been given a run of games – I think he has had 15 or 20 – whereas we were relegated at Chesterfield and I had three games.

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“But I genuinely hope he gets the opportunity because his knowledge is excellent and I think he has shown with some of the results they have achieved that he knows what he is doing.

“They have a lot of work to do but they are back in the hunt again, which didn’t always look likely.

“We have to make sure we take care of our business and get three points."