Ian Evatt hopes the return of skipper Ricardo Santos will lift the Wanderers squad heading into a busy run of fixtures.

The towering defender hasn’t featured since the 2-1 defeat at Reading last month due to injury.

Gethin Jones is also back from suspension, having missed the past three league games following his sending off against Peterborough.

Meanwhile, Paris Maghoma is back in contention after recovering from a thigh problem and Carlos Mendes Gomes is nearing a return to action.

“With football being a subjective game, people will always form their own opinion about Rico but he just has an aura,” Evatt explained.

“When everybody sees him back and in our team, it certainly lifts our players and I think it demoralises the opposition as well. He is a huge player for us and we are delighted to have him back.

“We are delighted to have Paris back as well, he has real quality. Carlos is not too far away either. We are really pleased to have those guys back and ready to push on for the next block of fixtures.”

The Whites are eager to return to winning ways following their 3-1 defeat against Carlisle before the international break.

“Watching the game back away from the emotion, we dominated the first half,” the manager continued.

“They got two penalties that the head of referees has again apologised for. They were never penalties. And then a heavily deflected goal when we were getting on top in the second half.

“I think everything went their way on the day. The third goal obciously flatters them because of the decision we made to try and chase the game.

“That wasn’t a true reflection of the game, I think we are definitely better than that and I expect us to get back to where we were pretty quickly.”

Evatt is prepared for another tough test against Northampton this weekend. Jon Brady’s side won promotion from League Two last season.

“They are a very difficult team to play against,” said the Bolton chief. “I expect it will be similar to the Carlisle and Stevenage games.

“The front four are very dangerous and they don’t give up many chances from open play. They are dangerous in transition but having Rico back changes everything for our transition management.”