POSITIVE vibes in the Wanderers camp over the international break have make Ian Evatt believe his side is finally getting ready to hit their stride in League One.

Bolton resume their promotion chase on Saturday against Northampton Town boosted by the return of skipper Ricardo Santos, defender Gethin Jones and midfielder Paris Maghoma.

Kyle Dempsey has been ruled out of action for a month after scans picked up a fracture in his back – but despite the midfielder’s absence, Evatt has seen promising signs elsewhere in his squad.

“This week has been very good, as good as I have seen it this season,” he told The Bolton News.

“It kind of takes me back to pre-Wembley when we had that chance to regroup and reset when players were fatigued from seven games in February. This has had a similar feel but we have to go out there and prove it on Saturday.

“We have a very talented group of players and it is huge having our captain back, the influence he has on everyone, not just his voice and his performance but the man’s stature. Everyone feels more comfortable when he is around.

“I am looking forward to this game and getting back to what I know we can be.”

A home defeat against Carlisle United last time out left a bitter taste over the break, ending as it did a run of three straight wins in league and cup.

Evatt said he received a phone call from the EFL “apologising” for the two penalties given to the Cumbrians by referee Seb Stocksbridge and after reviewing the game, took a slightly more lenient view on his players’ performance.

“Football is a funny game because if we’d lost at Port Vale and won the two home games you wouldn’t have that feeling but taken the same points from the week,” he said.

“I knew beforehand that it was going to be a difficult spell. But having watched the game back, the two penalties were a joke, the big deflected goal came at a time when we were just starting to build a head of steam. Sometimes it can just go the opposition’s way and not yours, and that was definitely one of them.”

Wanderers have welcomed back their international contingent, including Eoin Toal, who made his debut for Northern Ireland in a 1-0 home defeat to Slovenia.

The appearance triggered a bonus clause in the three-year deal he signed after moving from League of Ireland club Derry City – but Evatt claims the payment was less than the £75,000 widely quoted in the media.

“I am absolutely delighted for him – and I have seen some of the money quoted that we paid for him and I can tell you it is a lot, lot less,” he said. “He has been a real snip and a bargain.

“He was excellent again on Tuesday against a player who has been playing every week for Leipzig (Benjamin Sesko), so that is a good level.

“Eoin is improving and blossoming, he is becoming a very good player.”