RIVALS for a first team spot in Wanderers’ previous team shape – Gethin Jones says he could get used to playing alongside Jak Hickman after Ian Evatt’s recent shake-up.

The two right-sided defenders lined-up together in a new-look formation at Colchester United, Jones playing as an attacking full-back, with Hickman playing on the right side of attack.

Although the result went against the Whites, the pair produced some of Bolton’s best highlights, and Jones hopes Wanderers persist with the experiment.

“Me and Hicky get on really well,” he said. “When we have been playing 3-4-1-2 it has been really good competition for both of us but in this shape we’ve been able to play together for the first time.

“We’ve only really been able to play together properly on Thursday and Friday in training so I think it will work really well. We both like to get up and down the pitch, get forward, put crosses in and make chances.”

Evatt was pleased with the performance, not the result, and the possession statistics for the Colchester game suggest his team was more potent.

According to Whoscored.com, they enjoyed a 63.8 share of the ball at the JobServe Community Stadium, compared with 55.8 the previous week at home.

Their pass success percentage increased from 75 to 82 and the percentage of passes in the final third of the pitch also rose sharply from 102 (22.8 per cent) against FGR to 176 (30.7) against Colchester.

There is no escaping the bottom line, which is that Bolton have yet to put a point on the board this season, but Jones insists that progress is being made.

“If we play like that against most teams this season we will win more games than we lose,” he said.

“Obviously we can’t expect to go a whole season unbeaten. That’s impossible.

“We’re a new group, it’s a whole new staff, we’re only really just getting to know each other.

“I have only been here about seven weeks now – but the longer it goes on, the better we’ll gel together.”

Individual errors have cost Bolton goals – and Jones accepts that it is an area on which the team has to improve.

“We need to concentrate,” he said. “That set piece in the first half – we can’t conceded from that.

“We had a few set pieces in the first half and they were able to deal with them.

“We have our jobs at set pieces and I am not going to name names because it will probably happen to every single player at one time or another this season.”