MATT Gilks admits the Wanderers dressing room was stunned into silence after Saturday’s promotion sickener against Exeter City.

The Whites wasted a chance to cement their top three position – and potentially win League Two outright – by letting a lead slip in the second half against the Grecians.

They have one more opportunity to go up automatically but must beat Crawley on their own turf next weekend.

And Gilks hopes his team-mates can quickly rid themselves of the disappointment after their party plans were cancelled by Peter Sweeney’s 95th minute header.

“We can’t let it affect us too much,” he said. “We should have put it to bed, we know that, and credit to Exeter, they came with their own agenda and want to get into the play-offs but we were a little bit below par, to a man, and we need performances at this stage of the season.

“The mood in there is one of disbelief, really. Nobody has spoken in about an hour and a half.

“The lads are really down but we have another game, Crawley, and hopefully we can get the job done.”

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the stadium from noon expecting to be celebrating a result which confirmed League One football next season.

The mood turned sour after the final whistle, however, and a small number of people were involved in ugly scenes – including breaking through one of the exit doors - which are now subject to police investigation.

Gilks appealed to the wider Bolton support to keep the faith despite the despite the weekend ending on such a down note.

“Stick with us,” he said. “It was good to see the fans and we’re just sorry it didn’t turn into a better atmosphere out there in the end.

“But we need them for another game, another week’s support, then hopefully we can have a big party at the end of that.”

Gilks believes he and some of the other older heads in the Bolton squad now have an important job to do in the next few days lifting the mood.

The social media blackout meant this weekend’s backlash from fans was potentially less severe than it would have been at other stages of the season – but the Bolton keeper believes players cannot afford to wallow in the misery.

“I haven’t checked my phone yet,” he said after the game. “I don’t really do social media, I stay away from that, but even the consoling – your missus tries and you don’t want to speak with her.

“It’ll be one of those weekends but we have to come in Monday morning, get busy and get the job done next week.

“I’ll get over it, have a quiet night tonight, do something with the family tomorrow but Monday I will be myself to a point. I’ll try to pick people up and I think the experienced players have got a job to do now.

“It’s putting your arm around some, shouting at others, and getting on with it.

“We can’t go away from what we do. We have our own style and have to implement it, grab games by the scruff of the neck, because when we do we see teams off. Unfortunately today we didn’t put that into practice as much as we have in recent games.

“We need a good week in training, pick ourselves up, get a spring in our step again and go to Crawley and win.”