Midfielder Lee Evans says the challenge of forcing his way into the Wolves’ first team picture will “start all over again” when he returns for pre-season training.
Evans, 19, was one of the younger players handed their opportunity by Head Coach Kenny Jackett this season, chalking up 28 appearances – and his second successive promotion – having spent the first half of the previous campaign with Newport who finished by heading into the Football League.
Evans won a place in the starting line-up for the first game of the season at Preston, and also finished the season as first choice, and while there were some more difficult times in between, the Welsh Under-21 international is relishing the opportunity to go out and prove himself in the Sky Bet Championship.
“It would always have been a big ask for me to play in most of the games this season,” says Evans.
“I was pleased to start the season in the team and then later when the gaffer pulled me out for a good few weeks I think I learned from that and came back a better player because of it.
“Getting back into the team for the last couple of games was important for me to give me a chance to hopefully set a marker for next season.
“All we can ask as players is to be given a chance and then it is up to us to take it and that is what has happened this season.
“To hear the gaffer say it is only going to be gradual overhaul of the squad is good news for all of us trying to get in there especially the younger lads.
“We all want to play in the Championship and prove ourselves at that level.
“As players you have to back yourselves that you can make the step-up but it’s one thing saying it and thinking it – you have to go and do it.
“It is a tough division and as a team we are still developing but we are always learning from each other and each other’s games and I think we can continue to improve.
“As a club now I think we are only going in one direction.
“For me I have to give myself the best possible chance of playing again next season and I can only do that by staying in good shape over the summer and then impressing in pre-season.
“It will start all over again and for all of us the challenge will be there to try and impress the gaffer.”
Evans has played in different positions in the Wolves’ engine room over the season, both as an attacking midfielder – he chipped in with a couple of goals – or in a more holding role as seen in the final two games against Coventry and Cardiff.
Believing Wolves had a good balance of different attributes alongside others like Kevin McDonald, Jack Price and Dave Edwards, Evans is hoping that versatility will give him more chance of regular football next season.
He says: “I’d like to think I can do a job in the different positions in midfield whether that’s as the holding player or getting forward more.
“I played in a sitting role over those last two games of the season and I think that is probably where I would see me playing most during my career.
“The gaffer has said I’ve got the legs to play the attacking role and to be honest I’m happy to play anywhere if it means I can get in the team.
“I think we’ve got a good mix of central midfield players and all of us can bring different qualities to the team.”
Whilst looking forward to his next challenge Evans is also able to reflect on a memorable first senior season in the league which contained several notable highlights.
“It’s been a great first full season at Wolves for me,” he says.
“It has had its challenges and its own ups and downs personally but as a club and a team we did what we needed to do which was to win promotion.
“To cap it off with the title and the record number of points just make it even better.
“Lifting the trophy at Molineux was obviously a major highlight but for me personally, walking out at Preston in front of 5,000 away fans is the biggest thing that will stay with me.
“Making my debut in that atmosphere is something I will never forget.
“And then a week after I managed to follow up by marking my home debut with a goal against Gillingham which is another moment I will cherish.
“A few people have mentioned that it’s my second successive promotion.
“I played the first half of the season with Newport when they were flying and top of the league before joining Wolves in January of last year.
“They went on to win promotion to the Football League via the play-offs and now Wolves have won promotion as well – let’s hope we can go for another one next year!”