Ricardo Santos has assured Wanderers fans that leaving his contract discussions to the summer is NOT a sign that he is trying to buy time.
The club skipper is more than happy to sit down with Ian Evatt at the end of the season and map out a longer stay at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Though a few clubs in the Championship are understood to be watching Santos with interest, talks between the players’ agent and the club have already begun with a view to extending his current deal, which expires in the summer of 2023.
“It is still early stages,” he told The Bolton News. “I think people got confused with what I was saying last time – I wasn’t trying to stall a contract, I just wanted to concentrate and focus on the games I had coming up.
“The next two months is really important for myself and for the club but I know in the summer my agent, me and the gaffer will sit down and talk properly.
“I am happy to be here and honoured to be captain. I would love to stay but we will see how it goes and hopefully it is positive.
“But my contract situation is the least important thing at the moment because the games and getting in the play-offs is bigger. Even the gaffer said that.
“My agent is speaking to the gaffer and the club, so it’s still early stages. At the moment we are just working on these games coming up.”
Santos’s relaxed approach is mirrored by his manager, who is happy to pick up talks when the hurly burly of the League One season is done.
But with Dapo Afolayan also attracting attention from elsewhere and Evatt admitting he expects Bolton to be “tested” with bids from elsewhere for his players, Santos knows it could be an eventful summer.
“Yeah, that’s part of life and part of football,” he said. “When you are doing well, people move on and people stay – that’s just how it gets sometimes. But we are trying to stick together, keep the team together and just see how far we can go. If we don’t promoted this year, we’ll work hard next year.”
Getting to the top six would seem to hang on a positive result against Plymouth Argyle this weekend.
Having dropped two points to Morecambe on Tuesday night, Wanderers have made a difficult task harder but Santos insists there is still expectation within the dressing room.
“The gaffer wants to win every game so that’s pressure in itself and we’re not really focussing on the league,” he said. “We’re just taking it game by game and trying to win every game we can.
“Even if we don’t get in the play-offs, we still want to finish as high as possible and work on stuff for next season.
“Plymouth will be a tough game, and exciting game, not like the one on Tuesday. They will come out and press. Two teams playing for something, it will be good.
“I think it will suit us more. Strikers like Dion press very high and Dion’s quick and strong so he’d be a handful for defenders trying to play out and they won’t be as comfortable as other defenders are with the ball because of the likes of Dion, Baka and even Jon pressing.”
Santos also hopes he hasn’t used up all his good luck this week, having got away with a penalty appeal in the second half against Morecambe.
The challenge on Dylan Connolly in front of the away support has been shown umpteen times on social media over the last few days – and the big defender is happy to hold up his hands.
“It was a pen, 100 per cent,” he smiled. “I looked at the time to the lino and the ref and they both didn’t know what was going on, so I got away with it.
“He was quick, and I didn’t think he would have got there but I think he crossed it.
“But I had no luck with the red card in my last game against them, so maybe I got it there?”