IAN Evatt wants captain Ricardo Santos to take a more prominent role at Wanderers, ensuring the second half of the season counts.

After chalking up a first win of the year against Ipswich on Saturday, the Bolton boss is keen to create some positive momentum in a squad containing a handful of new signings.

Evatt has turned to Santos – who inherited the skipper’s role from Antoni Sarcevic in October – and the recently installed vice-captain Gethin Jones to help settle a new look team which will be expected to climb the table.

“Rico is a huge part of what we are trying to do here,” said the Bolton boss after Santos’s own man of the match display on Saturday.

“He has been made captain for the right reasons. He is a wonderful person and a very, very good footballer with more improvement to come.

“Now that leadership team now of Gethin and Rico really need to step up to the plate and they have done this week. They have been first class.”

Evatt has once again turned to trusted lieutenant Alex Baptiste to help bed down a squad he hopes can climb back towards the top half of the table in the coming weeks.

Wanderers rallied late last season to secure an automatic promotion spot from League Two, and the Bolton boss reckons part of that success was built on the dressing room finding a way to govern itself.

“We have to have people policing that dressing room and making the players understand what it takes to win games consistently on a Saturday,” he said. “Only then can we gather momentum and go on the good runs like we did last season.

“At times this year, the dressing room has been very quiet. There are a lot of young players in that dressing room and they are still learning about themselves.

“They are learning how to conduct themselves and what it takes to be in this pressured environment day in day out.

“Now that leadership group really have to step up to the plate and encourage the boys.”

The change in captaincy after Sarcevic’s controversial exit to Stockport County in October also caused a shift in dynamic within the squad.

Reflecting on the current mood within the camp, Evatt felt his players now would be better equipped to deal with problems.

“When someone needs a telling off, they need to be told off,” he said. “There is accountability within the squad now and that is important, but also accountability in the right way.

“That is the most important thing. People must be held accountable but it must be done and said with respect and in the right manner and that hasn’t always been the case.”