New Year Hopefully New Start For Rico

Ricardo Almeida Santos is hopefully on course to make it a happy New Year with the Whites.

Santos has missed Wanderers’ last four games after contracting a viral infection which left him hospitalised for a few days.

But the club captain is recovering well and after returning to training is eyeing a January return to action.

“We’ve had some really positive news,” confirmed Whites’ boss Ian Evatt.

“He went to see the specialist on Tuesday and was given the green light to actively start to progress in his training levels and schedule.

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“He’s almost going through a mini pre-season at the moment, which will last a couple of weeks.

“We’re looking to target early January with him at the moment. He’s been really receptive to everything we’re throwing at him.

“There’s been no adverse reaction, which is positive. We’ll take each day as it comes with him, but for now it’s good signs.”

Santos misses Wanderers’ post-Christmas festive fixtures and defensive side-kick Gethin Jones is also set to remain sidelined with the muscle strain that saw his ever-present League One record come to an end as Evatt’s men beat Exeter City 2-0 last Saturday to stay fifth in the table.

But striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson will return to the squad for the visit of top-six rivals Derby County on Bank Holiday Tuesday after his recovery from surgery to a broken nose.

And with Kyle Dempsey back to fitness and Lloyd Isgrove also returning to boost numbers, Wanderers will hopefully be well equipped to go into a key run of games either side of the turn of the year as they look to keep challenging on two fronts.

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“It’s an important run of fixtures," added Evatt. "I think it’s seven games with Derby twice, Portsmouth twice (including a Papa Johns Trophy quarter-final), Plymouth, Barnsley and Lincoln thrown in.

“It’s a difficult run of games but one we’re excited by and looking forward to.

“There’s going to be a brilliant crowd here on the 27th (against Derby) and I use the word progression a lot and for us to progress we need to start taking points off these teams in and around us.

“We know what we need to do and we have to go ahead and do it now.

“We’ve given ourselves a solid start and a solid foundation to build from.

“We need to do better in the games against the teams in and around us. I think we’ve had some moral victories along the way but what we’ve needed to do is win the moments more often and more consistently and win the battle in both boxes.

“These games are seldom used to creating lots of chances. It’s normally quite tight and we have to make sure we’re clinical at one end and really secure at the other.”

Wanderers are hoping for a crowd in excess of 24,000 for next Tuesday's game against Derby County with tickets still available to buy HERE and from the ticket office up to kick-off (3pm).

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