Midfielder returns from Bradford with renewed confidence
Lee Evans believes he is returning to Wolves a better and more mature player as he bids to re-stake his senior claims after a season on loan with Bradford.
The Welsh Under-21 midfielder will report back to Compton Park for pre-season after an impressive stay with the Bantams, which only ended in disappointment with play-off defeat to Millwall.
Evans had featured in spells for Wolves over the previous two seasons, but is confident he has stepped on further as he looks to prove himself again in the Sky Bet Championship.
“Psychologically it has been important for me to play through a full season,” said Evans.
“With Wolves, in my first season in League One I think I played the first 22/23 games, had quite a bit of a break, and then got back in at the end of the season.
“In the Championship, I played the first 20 games or so and then couldn’t get back in when I came out.
“I am looking forward to coming back to Wolves.
“It is a big opportunity, especially in pre-season, to show that I have improved.
“It is my aim now to get into that starting eleven for the first game of the season.
“I have seen the gaffer saying in the press that he thinks I can be part of the team and it is up to me now.
“As any player, I just want to be out there week-in week-out, and hopefully that is what I can do now for Wolves.
“This loan spell helped me on and off the pitch.
“Moving further away from home and being up there on my own with my girlfriend has helped me mature as a person and made me more rounded as a person.
“I think I have come to realise that I shouldn’t get on my own back so much when things don’t go great and to be able to move on quickly and forget things.
“I have worked with a sports psychologist up here as well and that has helped me and I am feeling positive about getting back to Wolves.
“I am still only 21 and have played a good amount of games now.
“They have been for good clubs as well, and big clubs.
“I have enjoyed every minute so far and I want to keep playing now, and hopefully that is for Wolves next season.”
Having made 25 appearances with Newport County prior to joining Wolves, Evans added 49 during his first two seasons at Molineux, and then another 42 with Bradford last season.
He is confident the stay in West Yorkshire has helped him continue to progress.
“It has been a great experience playing up at Bradford in front of good crowds and some of the biggest crowds in the league,” he says.
“I want to thank everyone at Bradford for that opportunity.
“It was nice to play week-in week-out and get another 40 games under my belt for a team which was challenging for promotion.
“I missed the first couple of games of the season but then managed to stay in the team when I got in and I think my form improved the longer I was in the team.
“I got sent off against Port Vale, but when I got back in after that my form went up a notch and it was good to help the team into the play offs.
“The play-offs themselves were obviously disappointing.
“We had a bad first hour in the first leg and paid the price for it.
“We played well at Millwall and we played well at home in the second half but that 30 minutes ultimately cost us.
“Fair play to them, they took advantage of that good period and we weren’t able to come back.
“But it was a good loan to have.
“There might have been situations where I could have gone to a club without the same sort of attendances and pressure where I would have been guaranteed a start every week.
“It was nice to go to Bradford where the is some expectation and good crowds.
“We were in a false position when I went as the team were bottom of the league but the manager’s plans were always to get up into those play offs and that was a big draw for me to go there.”
Now though all focus for Evans turns to Wolves.
He has kept a close eye on the team’s fortunes despite being elsewhere during the season, and is confident there is plenty of quality within the ranks heading into the 2016/17 campaign.
“I think there is some good quality in our squad,” he confirms.
“Obviously I followed it very closely last season and I think we were very unlucky with injuries.
“Nouha getting a bad injury so early on, then Jordan Graham having come into the team and done so well, and Zyro – the list goes on.
“There is definitely some good quality here and I have got to prove I have got enough quality to get into that team and to be able to play my part.”
It is a big opportunity, especially in pre-season, to show that I have improved