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The cavalry is coming: Evatt confirms comeback plan for Charles and Baxter

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

The cavalry is coming: Evatt confirms comeback plan for Charles and Baxter 17917564

Dion Charles and Nathan Baxter could be back in action for Wanderers by next weekend’s game at Bristol Rovers, Ian Evatt has confirmed.

Speaking after the 0-0 draw at Stevenage, the Bolton boss confirmed that his top-scorer Charles had aggravated a knee injury whilst on international duty with Northern Ireland last week.

Baxter has been out of action since early February with a wrist problem – but both players could now return to the squad for the trip to the Memorial Stadium on April 6.

Evatt admits the scale of the injury issues in his squad have left him cursing his luck of late, and Gethin Jones was forced to pull out of the squad at Stevenage with bruised hip which had been sustained whilst playing for Australia against Lebanon.

Randell Williams has also picked up a knock, although he too is due back imminently.

“We have nine first team players who make a huge difference to our team missing at the moment and I am carrying some frustration with that,” he said. “We need those players back fit and available.

“Hopefully they are getting closer but the week leading up to it was not easy. We lost Gethin, Dion slightly aggravated his out on international duty, Nathan is getting closer and closer all the time, but he is not quite there yet.

“We need the cavalry to arrive and help us but firstly we need a result against Reading on Monday.”

Pressed on when Charles and Baxter will return, Evatt added: “Dion has half a chance for Monday but I would think it is more likely to be Bristol Rovers. Nathan, we are aiming for Bristol Rovers.

“The issue with Geth is that he got a bang just above his hip and with the long flight it has produced some swelling and given him some soreness. It is literally a case of how quickly it settles down.

“We hope it will be right for Monday but it will depend how it settles.

“It has been frustrating but we just need to keep moving forwards and trying to pick up the points we need.”

Evatt brought Will Forrester in for his first start since January to replace Jones and the former Port Vale man went closest to opening the scoring with a first-half header which hit the crossbar.

The Bolton boss was pleased with the way his side defended the penalty box, praising the performance of keeper Joel Coleman – who filled in whilst Baxter has been out injured.

“I thought Joel did really well,” he said. “A clean sheet here is something that can be difficult to achieve because they ask you a lot of questions.

“In general, I think we defended really well. They didn’t create anything from the situations we had predicted they would but more from our own sloppiness.

“We will keep pushing forwards and I genuinely don’t think that is a bad point. We wanted all three but that is an away game ticked off and four from the last six are at home.

“We have to win on Monday now and put the pressure back on the teams above us.”

Cameron Jerome also came in for his first league start for Bolton since last April.

The 37-year-old went close to scoring early in the first half and warranted his inclusion in the side, Evatt said after the game.

“We thought the type of game it would be there would be some space in behind, and believe it or not Cam is age-defying with his speed, he is one of the quickest players in the team,” he said. “We wanted to get him in behind and expose that space and I don’t think he let anyone down.

“He had one good opportunity in the first half which he was sightly unfortunate with but I think he was one of the better ones.”


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