Bolton boss Ian Evatt expects Carlisle United to "raise their game" on their first visit to the University of Bolton Stadium tonight.

And the Wanderers manager sets little store by the idea the Blues might be feeling the effects of their hectic recent fixture run.

Evatt says his team must expect to face Chris Beech's side at their peak - not a United who might be less than 100 per cent as a result of their gruelling run.

Carlisle have had little respite in a Saturday-Tuesday fixture run since they returned from a prolonged spell on the sidelines in the winter due to Covid-19 and other postponements.

Asked if that could have taken its toll on the Cumbrians, though, Evatt said: “I am definitely not counting on that.

"We have been in this league long enough to know that everyone raises their game when they face Bolton, especially at the UniBol.

"Whatever energy they are lacking they will find on the night. 

“That is fine, though. We need to prepare to beat the best Carlisle, not one that is under-performing, or being average. That is how good we need to be."

While Carlisle are hoping to bolster their play-off hopes tonight, Bolton are aiming to enhance their automatic promotion credentials.

The Trotters, who have not lost at home since January 2, are a point clear of the League Two play-off places in third position.

Evatt says the Cumbrians' strengths are familiar but should be no surprise to his team.

He said: "Yes, they’re strong from set pieces; yes, they have a long throw; but I say the same things every week.

"Every team in this league is strong from set-pieces and every team has a long throw, probably barring us.

"We have to find other ways and we just have to cope with it and take on board what we work on in training, what we didn’t do well on Saturday and just be better than them.

"Win our individual battles and just be better than the opposition. If we do that, then we’ll win the game.”  

Evatt's team, who drew 3-3 at Brunton Park on Boxing Day, suffered a shock reverse to the division's bottom side at the weekend, losing 2-1 to Grimsby.

But the former Barrow boss has faith that his team can perform better in all the key departments tonight.

"We know we need to be better at both ends of the pitch," he said.

"Defensively we’ve been great of late, Saturday was a blip. I think I understand the reasons behind it and the way the game was - conditions, their front two and we just didn’t handle it well enough on the day - but for a significant period of time, they’ve defended really well.

"In terms of attacking we’re missing too many chances and simple ones, so I’m hopeful that our attackers will take that on the chin and improve and take the chances when we create them.”