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The partnership that has been key to Wanderers' upturn in fortunes

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt believes the partnership of Ricardo Santos and Alex Baptiste at the back has been key to Wanderers’ mini-revival.

The pair have started the last four games together in the heart of the defence as Bolton have picked up 10 points from the last 12

available to move up to 11th in the League Two table.

Santos has been one of the stars of the season for the Whites while Baptiste returned to the side after Ryan Delaney’s red card at Tranmere a month ago.

And Evatt reckons the duo have set the tone as Wanderers have won three of their last four ahead of travelling to Southend today.

“I think they have been outstanding, they complement each other really well and we’ve got Ryan waiting in the wings, MJ (Williams) can play back there as well,” said the Bolton boss.

“But those two have really cemented themselves in the team at present, they are keeping us calm and composed, they are doing the dirty work for the team but they are also building attacks and they are comfortable in possession.

“It is down to them and I genuinely feel that when they play well, the team plays well, so I hope they continue.”

As with all partnerships, Evatt believes Santos and Baptiste’s understanding is getting better by the game with the struggling Shrimpers next up this afternoon.

Having signed his former Blackpool team-mate in the summer to add some much-needed experience to his dressing room, Evatt knows more than most about what it takes to get the most out of 35-year-old Baptiste, something Santos appears to have found the knack of.

“It looks like Rico is getting more out of Baps than I ever did,” the Whites boss joked.

“It is one of those things, you hit it off and get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Football in general, and certainly defending, it’s playing to your strengths and hiding your deficiencies. And I think they understand each other more now.

“We know that Baps isn’t as quick as he used to be but he has got a really clever brain, he sees danger and reads the game really well.

“Rico has got the other side of it, he has physical attributes that make him hard to out-run, out-muscle, and he has that composure on the ball.”


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