Evatt out to right wrongs
Blackpool defender Ian Evatt is willing to play through the pain barrier in order to secure an instant return to the Premier League.
The 30-year-old scored the Seasiders opening goal in last weekend's 2-2 draw at Millwall with a diving header despite suffering a broken nose in training 24 hours earlier and spending much of the journey to London with blood pouring from the injury.
Birmingham visit Bloomfield Road on Friday night in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final and Evatt believes his own commitment to the cause is representative of a desire coursing through Ian Holloway's squad.
"It was a bit of a nasty clash but that just shows the tempo and the focus in training at the moment is unbelievable," he said of the collision with veteran forward Brett Ormerod. "The lads are going around kicking each other, they want it that badly.
"It was just a genuine challenge and I ended up with a lot of blood. The physio managed to crack it back into place for me, so it's not too bad.
"The assistant manager Steve Thompson has been telling me for a few years now that I'm too good looking to be a centre-half, so I guess he's got what he wanted in me having a broken nose!"
A second play-off triumph in three seasons is one wish everyone at Blackpool can agree on.
Evatt was the Seasiders' only ever-present player in the league last year and found their final-day relegation having taken the lead away to champions Manchester United particularly hard to stomach.
"I think we see it as a failure on our part," he said. "We feel like we should have stayed up in that league. We played well enough to stay up.
"We were in a great position at Christmas. We were 2-0 up a lot of games - Bolton away, Blackburn away - that we just chucked away through our own naivety really, not from bad playing."
The attacking verve that won Blackpool many admirers last term faded as only three wins were collected in the new year and a total of 39 points failed to keep their heads above water.
However, Evatt believes the legacy of their fearless approach lives on in some of this season's success stories.
"People talk about the Swanseas and the Norwiches and how well they've done this year, but we started that ball rolling last year.
"I don't think any team that goes down this year will get 39 points, so it was very unfortunate and it took us a while to get over.
"We've got unfinished business with the Premier League and hopefully we can get back there and prove that we can stay there."