Lee Evans was delighted to bounce back from his Bradford withdrawal with an impressive 90 minutes in the Wolves engine room – as well as assist – in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Stevenage.
At Valley Parade Evans had been the unfortunate sacrifice, through no fault of his own, of Kenny Jackett’s early tactical change which saw Kevin Doyle introduce before the midway point of the first half and the Welsh under-21 international making way.
It proved a masterstroke as Wolves hit back from a one goal deficit to win 2-1 and Evans, having totally understood Jackett’s decision, showed no ill effects in starting and completing the 90 minutes as Stevenage were put to the sword.
With Jamie O’Hara also now in the mix in terms of Jackett’s midfield selection options, Evans heads up to Carlisle with Wolves today knowing competition for places is seriously intense.
He says: “I don’t think words can describe how you feel when you see your number go up after 25 minutes and you’re walking off wondering what you’ve done wrong.
“But obviously the gaffer told me it was nothing to do with me and that he felt tactically he needed to change it after the start of the game.
“That makes it easy to understand but when I got my chance again for the Stevenage game I wanted to prove why I should be in the team and hopefully I did that with a half decent performance.
“It’s something I’ve just got to get on with and when you’ve got someone of the calibre of Kevin Doyle coming in to replace you I think it’s fair enough!
“I’d had a quite tough month having not been playing.
“I got back in against Oldham which was the first game I’d played in just over a month and I couldn’t wait to get back playing.
“There is so much competition for places in midfield now and it’s going to be hard for me to keep my place.
“I just need to keep playing as well as I can and see what happens.
“There are so many good players here and any of us who don’t play are going to be disappointed.
“I think as a footballer you always want to play – whatever age you are – and I just want to play for Wolves, that’s why I’m here.
“You’ve got to manage that frustration when you’re not involved and channel it into showing what you can do in training because the gaffer is always going to want to see a positive response.
“I think we’re going to need all the squad this season.
“Having the games postponed for internationals is going to congest the fixture list even more and you can’t rely on the starting eleven to get through the season – everyone is going to be needed.
“We’ll need the entire squad to get us through and hopefully that will help keep us stay at the top of the league.”
Evans not only produced an assist against Stevenage he went mighty close to another goal at the North Bank end, seeing a shot cleared off the line.
On the game itself he reflected: “It was a tough game and Stevenage came to Molineux with a plan of what they were going to do against us.
“After going 1-0 up I thought we were quite comfortable in the first half but they gave us a good test in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“We kept another clean sheet which is a credit to the back four and it was a good win for us.
“I was happy to be back playing and happy to pop up with an assist as well.
“James Henry made a good run but he still had a lot to do when I found him with the pass and he finished it well.
“I also had a shot off the line which would have been my second goal at Molineux but hopefully that will come soon.”
All roads now lead to Carlisle this evening (7.45pm), and Evans knows it will be another tough test in store.
But he says the players are keen not only to try and pick up three points to join Leyton Orient at the Sky Bet League One summit, but also as a reward for over 1,200 Wolves fans who are making the trip.
“A couple of my mates from Newport have played there at different times and on a Tuesday night I think we know it is going to be a tough game,” says Evans.
“It is one of the longer journeys but we can’t have any excuses – we’ve had the perfect preparation and have just got to go up there and do the business.
“It is our game in hand on the team around us and we don’t want any repeat of the last time we were in this situation against Walsall.
“If we can win we can join Leyton Orient at the top of the league but we know we will have to play well to do that and will not be taking anything lightly.
“We have to make sure we are right on our game, not only for us but also for all the fans who are travelling up there.
“It’s a long way to go on a Tuesday night and is a massive credit to everyone travelling so it’s up to us to put on a performance and make sure they are all happy on their way home.”