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Craddock was not the 'easy option' for first team coach role, says Ian Evatt

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Craddock was not the 'easy option' for first team coach role, says Ian Evatt 17459486

Ian Evatt says Matt Craddock’s appointment as new first team coach was not guided by Wanderers’ upturn in form since the last international break.

Craddock stepped into the role on a temporary basis after Sam Hird’s departure at the start of October, which was followed by a seven-game winning streak in all competitions.

Interest in the position was high – and Evatt insists a thorough process was undertaken in the background, as Wanderers climbed back into automatic promotion contention in League One.

Craddock, who had previously worked with the B Team and held roles at Preston and Blackpool, was viewed as the outstanding choice.

Evatt explained: “I can understand the outside perception that it would be a safe and easy appointment, but it has been completely the opposite. We have had a thorough and diligent process which has taken a lengthy period of time.

“You had the initial applications, then the first filter, we then went through tasks where we sent the applicants games and asked them to give us some detail about what our philosophy and identity looks like, things like that.

“We had lots of impressive presentations, so we filtered again and spoke to the candidates individually, which brought the field down further.

“And all the way through that process, Matt has been the outstanding candidate. That is just the way it is.

“We are not short-sighted enough to say ‘well, we had good results, let’s just select Matt’. It is not about form, it is about processes and appointing the best man for the job at the stage we are at, and he is that man.

“I am excited now to see what new ideas he can bring to the table. He is an excellent coach and we’re sure he will be a valuable addition.”

As a result of their recent form, Wanderers have 35 points - their best return at the 16-game stage of the season since 1997/96, when Colin Todd’s team managed 37 en route to a record-breaking promotion to the Premier League.

Evatt feels his side is striking the right balance between defensive solidity – evidenced by five successive clean sheets in all competitions – and attacking threat.

“When you add the two things together, it makes for a good team. I think the win against Blackpool was probably the most complete performance of the season, in terms of 90 minutes.

“It had concentration, focus, we didn’t allow the opposition very much at all. I know they had one or two moments, which I think should be expected against a very good team, but Nathan (Baxter) didn’t have a save to make, really, so it shows how solid we were.

“Some of our stuff was really good going forward as well. We just wanted and needed a little bit of quality in the final third at times.

“If there was a real marker to where this group has got, watch George Thomason’s goal and see the celebrations with the substitutes. That only happens in a team which is united and together, it means so much to them. And that is a key indicator that they are enjoying what they are doing.”


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