Ricardo Almeida Santos is relishing the prospect of leading Wanderers into their play-off challenge after a welcome return to action.
The Wanderers’ skipper ended a seven-game absence with a thigh injury in the final game of the regular campaign at Bristol Rovers.
Santos played the first half of the 3-2 win at the Memorial Stadium as scheduled in an ideal warm-up for the Whites’ play-off semi-final against Barnsley.
“It was good for me to get 45 minutes to get the cobwebs away and get going again because we’ve got two massive games coming up. – and hopefully three. So it was good to get 45 minutes and win the game,” said Santos.
“It’s always frustrating when you get injured and you miss the last bit of the season. The same thing happened to me last year. The boys did the job and I always had the faith in them.”
Wanderers secured their play-off place during Santos’ absence but the defender’s return is a huge boost for Ian Evatt’s men as they look to negotiate their two-legged tie against Barnsley and keep their promotion hopes alive.
The Whites have home advantage in the first leg this afternoon (Saturday) and Santos is hoping to make it count in front of a big University of Bolton Stadium crowd.
“I’m excited. These are the reasons you play football, to be part of these games,” added the Wanderers’ talisman.
“To lead out the boys in these massive games is always an honour for me.
“I’m going to enjoy it, take the pressure off the boys, and see it as another game.
“Hopefully we start fast - especially here with our fans, who are going to be loud as usual.
“We won’t go all guns blazing because there’s another leg, but we want to start fast and hopefully put is in a good position for the second game.”