IAN Evatt says he has buried the hatchet with referee Neil Hair after last year’s bust-up at Tranmere Rovers.
Last January the Huntingdonshire official found himself at the centre of a storm after sending off defender Ryan Delaney and Evatt during a game at Prenton Park.
Wanderers had threatened to report the referee to the Football Association – but a disciplinary committee later ruled that there would be no action taken against the Bolton boss.
All eyes were on Hair again on Saturday for a first-half penalty decision, where Imps defender Adam Jackson appeared to pull the shirt of Elias Kachunga in the penalty box.
The referee waved away penalty appeals at first but was then instructed by his linesman that there had been a foul. The spot kick was converted by Dion Charles, putting Bolton on their way to a fourth straight league win.
Speaking about the decision, Evatt said: “To be fair to the linesman, he said to me straight away, ‘Ian stay calm because I can hear the comms and I can hear what is developing here’, please just wait and let us get the decision right’. I have got to say the linesman my side today was first-class with his communication.”
Evatt also confirmed that he had cleared the air with Hair last season.
“We had him at Cheltenham away last year and as soon as he saw me, he came up to me and apologised and said, ‘I made mistakes’. “We all make mistakes, we all do. I had so much respect for him that day for coming up and owning it and saying, ‘I apologise, I made mistakes, I am striving to be better’. That is what we all want, so credit to him.”
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came off the bench to score the second goal, combining with another substitute, Dapo Afolayan. Evatt says the task of picking his team is becoming more difficult with each passing victory – but he has praised his players’ attitude on the training ground as they ensure whittling down a matchday squad is no easy task.
“We have five players who I class as fully fledged first-team players, outfield players that is, who didn’t get on the bench,” he said. “Josh Sheehan has trained really well the last week and looked lots more like his old self. Eoin Toal is getting better and better all of the time, he is doing really well. “Izzy is back now, we know what he gives us. And we have got young Owen Beck who has come in and Declan John, we know what he can do. “It is tough, it really is. But we are very fortunate and this time last season was the beginning of not having many subs and trying to figure out how to put an 11 out there, so I am not going to complain too much. I like what I have got.”