Ian Evatt says Ricardo Santos has continued to make progress – but the skipper remains a long way off a return to the side.

Santos hasn’t featured since he was hospitalised with breathing problems following a viral infection earlier this month.

The towering centre-back has been doing some light training and is also set to see a private specialist about his lungs.

Evatt says there has been “significant improvement” but the skipper is still “nowhere near” the physical condition needed to return to League One action.

“He is improving but he is not anywhere close,” said the Bolton boss. “He is seeing a private specialist on Tuesday regarding his breathing and his lungs.

“But his lungs are improving. He is stepping up his workload and exercise load on a daily basis.

“The tight chest he has been suffering with since coming out of hospital is starting to fade away, so there is significant improvement.

“But he is not close to playing, he is nowhere near the physical exertion that we require for him to be available for training and games. We will know a lot more on Tuesday following that appointment.

“But the biggest thing for me is that he is out of hospital, he is training, he is exercising and things are improving, which is great news for everybody.”

Santos has been a key figure at the back for Wanderers since Evatt took charge at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The 27-year-old has made 21 appearances since the start of the campaign, most recently in the 3-2 win against Barrow in the Papa Johns Trophy last month.

Evatt added: “(He is) just working with the physios and doing light jogs. The length of those jogs is increasing on a daily basis and obviously doing more sets.

“He is coping a lot better and there are good signs, but as I said he is nowhere close yet.”

While Santos has been out of action, Gethin Jones has stepped up and taken on the captain’s armband.

Kieran Lee took on the responsibility against Exeter over the weekend when Jones was also unavailable due to injury.

Despite being without their two main leaders at the back, Wanderers delivered a resilient defensive display against the Grecians. Eoin Toal and Will Aimson impressed, while George Johnston continued his consistent form.

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