TEAM NEWS: Trophy Boost For Whites

Ian Evatt will welcome back reinforcements as Wanderers look to progress in the Papa Johns Trophy.

The Whites were missing a handful of senior players for Saturday’s late loss at Shrewsbury Town.

But following a bout of illness in the camp, Aaron Morley, Kieran Sadlier, Owen Beck and Declan John could all be in contention to face Manchester United’s U21s after returning to training at a snowy Lostock on Monday.

“It’s positive that there are four or five returning from illness this morning and we’ll monitor those to see where they’re at,” confirmed Evatt.

“We’ve had no-one else go down over the weekend, which is a positive sign, and hopefully we can keep everybody in one piece.”

Morley ball.jpg

The return to the training ground of captain Ricardo Santos has also been a welcome sight, although the defender is still some way from playing again following the viral infection that required hospital treatment.  

“It’s just a slow business of re-building him. He lost almost a stone in less than a week, which isn’t good, so we need to get that weight back on him and build up the physical capabilities and how much his lungs can cope with the exercise.

“It’s going to be a slow process, so we’ll take our time and see where he’s at,” added Evatt.

The boss was frustrated to see his side let slip a 2-1 lead at Shrewsbury to suffer a first defeat in five games as Wanderers conceded twice from late set-pieces following a Dion Charles' double.

And Evatt will be looking for a positive response when the Whites face United’s youngsters at the University of Bolton Stadium on Tuesday night with a quarter-final place in the Trophy at stake.

Charles penalty.jpg

“Last week was a really tough week for many reasons. The way the game ended on Saturday, what happened with Rico and the illness and injury we had in the week made things very difficult for us. But we re-set, re-group and go again,” said Evatt, who has also had to count out midfielder George Thomason for a lengthy spell with a knee injury.

“We had our noses bloodied on Saturday. We did a lot right for 75 minutes.

“Considering what we’d been through that week I thought it was a decent performance away from home.

“It didn’t look like they were going to score – only set-plays really – and we just didn’t do the basics well enough, which is unlike us.

“I think it’s the first time since Exeter in the promotion season (2020/21) we’d lost a game we’d been in front, which is a good record and one we’re very proud of.

“But that’s gone now, and we have work very hard to re-build another record.”

Read Time: 3 mins