Mixed News On The Defensive Front

Ian Evatt is looking forward to the potential return of two defenders but is preparing for the probable longer term absence of a third in Gethin Jones.

Jones has missed Wanderers’ last two games with a leg injury.

And following the diagnosis of a stress fracture to a fibula, the full-back may not figure again this calendar year.

“On Gethin, it’s not good news to be honest,” confirmed Evatt, who will have Ricardo Santos free from suspension to face Gillingham on Saturday and may also be able to call on the services of left-back Declan John.

“We sent him to see a specialist yesterday and if the prognosis is right it will be January before we see him again.

“We’re going to get a second opinion. We’re hoping for the best but at the moment we are planning on not having him til January.”

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Jones’ absence has been felt, with Wanderers conceding seven goals in the two games he has missed since a 1-0 loss at Sheffield Wednesday.

John was also absent for the defeats to Wigan and Plymouth Argyle, while Santos had to sit out the mid-week trip to the League One leaders.

But Wales international John could return against the Gills at the University of Bolton Stadium.

And with Santos also back, Evatt will have the option of bolstering a defensive line-up which has had to undergo several changes in a run of eight league games without a clean sheet.

“Declan trained today and came through fine,” added the Bolton boss.

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“We will see how the injury reacts overnight and we’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow if he’s going to be available.

“Ricco is a huge player for this football club. He’s been top-class ever since we brought him in and we missed him on Tuesday.

“He will be back on Saturday and can give us that composure and stability and that physicality we needed.

“We have conceded too many goals of late and we have to put an end to that and start keeping clean sheets and then back our forward players to start taking the opportunities we have created.

“We’ve had a difficult week, but it’s only been a week. We have to put an end to that on Saturday and we are determined to do so.”

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