Wanderers turned down the chance to sign former loanee Viv Solomon-Otaboor last week to ease their injury crisis.
The former Blackpool and Wigan Athletic winger, who spent a short time with Wanderers in the 2016/17 season, had a week-long trial at Lostock but has now signed for Scottish outfit, St Johnstone.
Ian Evatt admits he may have chosen a different course had he known he would be missing Lloyd Isgrove for three months with a torn hamstring.
And the Wanderers boss admits he is unlikely to bring in any more free agents before the transfer window reopens.
“The problem we have – and it is a problem – is by the time you get the lads who have not had clubs up to speed, it’s January,” he told The Bolton News.
“That is why we decided against Viv, and it was before Lloyd went down, so we might have made a different decision knowing what we know now.
“I think we are that close to January now, if we took that option now it would take a long time to get them up to speed so we need to bite the bullet a little bit and get through to the window.”
Wanderers have activated a clause in the loan contract of Liam Edwards, at Southport, and Adam Senior, at York, which will bring them back to Bolton after the away game at Fleetwood on December 7.
“We can bring them back but only after 28 days – so, with hindsight, we wouldn’t have sent them out on loan,” Evatt shrugged.
“We are having to sit tight until we can get them back but that date is December 8, or something like that, so for now we will wait.”
Midfielder Ronan Darcy, who is currently out with Norwegian side Sogndal, plays the last game of the regular season this weekend but will almost certainly stay on for the play-offs.
“He is end of December because they are close to the play-offs, so we get him back then,” he said.
“We have looked at and examined every possible option. And there is nothing we can do right now.
“We are in the middle of the ring with our hands behind our back, so we need to find a way to get to the final bell, which is January.”
Such is the paucity of players in his squad, Evatt even wondered whether he should make a playing return.
“I considered that – and it’s my own fault because three stone ago I might have been okay,” he laughed.