Ian Evatt has asked his Wanderers players to “limit risk” in order to avoid wide-scale Covid isolations in the final fortnight of pre-season.
The Bolton boss was without a handful of first team stars on Tuesday night against Preston North End and faces a tricky couple of weeks planning for life in League One with rising infections causing havoc to general life, and his own club’s training plans.
Evatt takes his squad to Barrow on Saturday before bringing them back to the UniBol to meet the supporters as part of a family fun day.
And though the manager is looking forward to having some interaction with supporters after playing behind closed doors for the entire of his first season at the club, he is also mindful that the whole squad and coaching staff cannot take too many gambles outside the football arena.
Evatt admits he cannot currently pick a first XI to face MK Dons on the opening day of the season because he has no idea which players will be clear to play.
“We’re trying to expect the unexpected and do as much as we can, but it comes down to following rules, following protocols and limiting risk,” said the Wanderers boss, who should welcome Eoin Doyle and Dennis Politic back from Covid isolation for this weekend's friendly at Barrow.
“There is only so much of that we can do in this building. It is also about trusting what the players are doing outside of training and outside of the stadium and when they are away from Bolton Wanderers.
“They have to make sacrifices and if it means not walking to the Trafford Centre with the missus or going around Tesco or whatever else, they have to do what’s necessary to keep themselves safe. That is the bottom line, just as much as they can do.”
Wanderers cancelled a second XI game at Bamber Bridge last week after a Covid outbreak among academy staff and have recently seen the likes of Eoin Doyle and Dennis Politic spend 10 days in isolation.
Further absences are almost guaranteed but Evatt believes, for the moment, that people in every sporting walk of life are dealing with the same problems.
“We’re just a small part of it and I can only speak about ourselves but there’s people all over the world that are suffering,” he said.
“The Olympic athletes, for instance, that have been training for four to five years for this one event and they could be at the peak and in their prime and ready to win medals.
“They could unfortunately catch Covid and all their work in their lifetime has gone out of the window.
“At the moment, the players are going to miss 10 days of training and maybe a few games. That could be a lifetime lost for Olympic athletes and our thoughts are with them really with what they’re dealing with at the moment.”