'We have to' - Bolton boss makes telling League One promotion admission as Portsmouth and Derby move further clear

Pompey sit 11 points clear of third-placed Bolton with six games of the season remaining
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Ian Evatt has conceded Bolton find themselves at the Last Chance Saloon after their latest slip-up in League One’s automatic promotion race.

He admitted his faltering Trotters side need to win their six remaining games to stand a chance of securing a top-two finish, after a goalless draw at Stevenage on Friday saw Bolton fall further behind leaders Pompey and second-placed Derby.

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Eleven points now separate Evans & Co from John Mousinho’s table-toppers, who travel to the Toughsheet Community Stadium on Saturday, April 13. Meanwhile, a six-point barrier sits between Wanderers and the Rams, with the former having played a game less than Paul Warne’s side.

It’s still mathematically possible for Bolton to win both automatic promotion and the League One title. That requires both Pompey and Derby - who go head-to-head at Fratton Park on Tuesday night - to drop points. It also puts pressure on Wanderers to win all their remaining games.

While Pompey are currently on a 13-match unbeaten run that includes 10 wins, Bolton haven’t won back-to-back games since January. Furthermore, Evatt has been bemoaning the injuries that have prevented his side from gaining momentum for the business end of the season. Nevertheless, the Bolton boss remains optimistic that the cards can still fall in his favour.

Speaking after Friday’s draw at Stevenage and ahead of Monday’s game against Reading, Evatt told the club’s media: ‘Four of the next five are at home. We have to do something about it. We have to make sure we play our way and hopefully some of the cavalry returns.

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‘There are some frustrations with having nine key players injured. It’s a big group of players we are missing which would make a significant difference to our XI. The lads are giving it their all.

‘It’s tough but we have to focus on Monday and try to win that game and hopefully put some pressure on the ones above us and continue to push forwards and try and win six matches. That’s how we have to see it.

‘I still think there’s a lot of football to go yet. We have to believe (a win on Monday) is going to make the picture a lot different. That has to be our sole focus, re-group, re-set and get ready for a huge game on Monday.

‘We’re not out of this yet. We’ve got to get some bodies back and do our best to win six football matches.’

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It's worth noting that there’s a possibility Pompey will have already secured promotion back to the Championship by the time they travel to Bolton on April 13, with just eight points required to seal automatic promotion.

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