IAN Evatt will give Declan John every chance to prove his fitness for tomorrow night’s game at Lincoln City.

The Wales international limped out of Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Wimbledon with a hip problem but Evatt is optimistic he will not be out of action for long.

Liam Gordon could come into the reckoning for what would be his first league start since November 3, 2020, if John fails to pass a fitness test.

“We have seen the incident back now, when Dec got injured, and it was just a collision,” Evatt explained. “So it’s more of a bruise than a muscle pull or tweak. It should settle down but whether he is OK for Lincoln we don’t know yet, we’ll have to look and see.

“There was quite a lot of fatigue on Saturday and one or two are carrying little knocks but there is nothing major, we should be OK.”

Across the squad, Evatt concedes the after-effects of illness and injuries over pre-season continue to make it tough to pick a full-fit squad.

Ricardo Santos could come out of the team again after struggling in the final stages at Plough Lane, and the Bolton boss has assured supporters that his selection decisions are being made with an eye on the players’ physical data.

“It is difficult right here, right now, because of what we went through in pre-season and it is only me, the players and the medical staff who know the current situation,” he said.

“So when supporters see George Johnston not on the team-sheet for Saturday, there is a reason behind that. He had one day’s training after returning from Covid and had to play 90 minutes again and again; he was out on his feet.

“You saw it in the last 20 minutes on Saturday with Ricardo Santos, he was completely fatigued, and that is all down to what they have been through in pre-season.

“We are analysing heavily, speaking to the players – who know their bodies better than anyone – and we’ll pick a team that is physical able to do the job for that specific game.”