WANDERERS won’t risk Xavier Amaechi’s long-term fitness by throwing him in from the start in League One before he is ready.

Injuries and suspensions have hit crisis point at the UniBol, with just 13 senior players available for this weekend’s home game against Cheltenham Town.

That number includes ex-Arsenal winger Amaechi, who has played just 56 minutes of football for the Whites since returning from a broken metatarsal sustained in pre-season.

With Dapo Afolayan suspended, thoughts have naturally turned towards the impactful wide man as an obvious replacement in the Bolton attack for the weekend. And though Ian Evatt is keen to see his summer loan signing in full flow for the first time, he is reluctant to risk him picking up further injuries by pushing him too quickly.

“We have got to be careful with Xav and not just with expectations but also his physical condition,” he said. “He has been out for a long, long time and we have already rushed him back, so we have to be cautious. We don’t want to break anyone else down.”

Wanderers should learn today the extent of the hamstring injury sustained by Lloyd Isgrove in the Doncaster win, and more information should also be available on MJ Williams’ course of rehabilitation from a dislocated shoulder.

The club know they will be without the midfielder for at least three weeks but should the damage be serious enough to require immediate surgery, Williams is not expected back in action until February at the earliest.

Evatt was cheered by George Johnston’s performance as a deep-lying midfielder on Tuesday night, and the former Feyenoord man may well now step into Williams’s role while he recovers.

“I think he can do it,” said the Bolton boss. “Obviously it is not his natural position, but his attitude is first class. He is talented and technical enough to be able to do it, so there is no reason why he can’t fill in there while MJ is missing.”

Wanderers had dropped to 14th position in the table before the win against Crewe a fortnight ago, and coupled with the FA Cup exit at Stockport, Evatt’s side did come in for criticism in some quarters.

But the Whites boss insists he has been able to put the dip in form into context, and hopes the fanbase will continue to back the players when they need it the most.

“I don’t understand any pressure, I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I just focus on my job. Pressure was 22nd, 21st, 20th in League Two, pressure is when this football club nearly went out of business. If you’re asking me if I feel pressure when we’re mid-table in League One, the answer’s no.

“Of course, we are happy to win a game but things aren’t that bad. They have been a lot worse in recent years, so I don’t really understand why some people are feeling pretty sorry for themselves.

“I guess that’s football and people like to moan. For us, as I said, we’re happy to keep focus, keep concentrating and I believe that puts us in the top half of the table again in League One. Some perspective on that and we’ll keep trying to do our best.”