WANDERERS will be forced into the transfer market to find a short-term replacement for injured defender Gethin Jones.

The full-back was last night waiting for the result of scans on his lower leg and ankle after a collision with Harrogate striker Mark Beck on Saturday.

Ian Evatt revealed yesterday that the “best case scenario” was that Jones had only a fractured fibula but the Bolton boss was concerned there may also be associated ligament damage which could extend his period on the side-lines well into the New Year.

“I think we’re looking at months rather than weeks out of action,” he told The Bolton News. “It is so unfortunate for Gethin because he has been one of, if not the most consistent player we have, and he brings a lot to the table with his athleticism and his work-ethic.

“He had started the game really well on Saturday and it was just a freak injury that sometimes happens in football, so we’re hoping for good news but fearing the worst.”

Should Jones need surgery on his ankle it is likely he will be missing until well into January and will mean that Jak Hickman is the only recognised right-back in the squad.

Evatt has already made some checks on players who could come in on loan.

“It is possibly a blessing that the injury has happened before the window has shut, so it gives us an opportunity to bring someone in,” he said.

“We have highlighted probably two or three players who we think could improve the squad and make us a better team, so we will see how that pans out.

“We have got until October 16 and we don’t need to rush into things.

“We will make sure whatever business we do is at the right price and it is also the right move for the club, moving forward.”

Evatt will make changes in the EFL Trophy against Shrewsbury Town tonight and feels he will have to rotate again on Saturday against Grimsby to keep his players in good physical condition.

Alex Baptiste and Reiss Greenidge could be back available to face the Mariners, while checks will be made on the likes of Jamie Mascoll, Antoni Sarcevic and Andy Tutte, who all came back into the team at Harrogate.

“You are seeing across the divisions a lot of injuries at the moment, and that was always going to be the way with the amount of football that was missed,” he said.

“Luckily for us, we have got quite a large squad of players, a lot of whom we have recruited. They are not all at the same level of fitness at the moment, and that’s an issue, because we have to get them up to match speed.

“Even with all the pre-season we had and the friendlies I still don’t think they are anywhere near where I want them to be. And the data backs that up. But we have to be cautious because we can’t keep going back to the well, it will run dry when there is no energy left.

“We will have to rotate. We ask them to play at a high intensity but it isn’t sustainable right now for 90 minutes because they are not fit enough to do it.

“As you saw on Saturday, Jamie (Mascoll) was tired after about 60 minutes and Andrew Tutte was extremely tired after 70. Sarce (Anthony Sarcevic) had missed two or three weeks and came straight back in, he was tired too.

“Unfortunately we’re back down to three subs again and we almost needed five because they were that tired.

“Those players need to take a step back. Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday they are not ready for that yet, so hence the opportunity for the younger players coming in to stake a claim for Saturday.”