It didn’t look likely for a large portion of the season, but Bolton Wanderers were able to secure promotion back to League One at the first time of asking under new manager Ian Evatt this past season.
They put together a late surge of results in the final third of the campaign to finish in third position, out-battling north west rivals Morecambe to the final automatic promotion spot, and they were led by Eoin Doyle’s 19 league goals.
One of the other stars of Evatt’s squad was Ricardo Santos, who was brought in from National League side Barnet last summer.
The centre-back had previous Football League experience with Peterborough United in League One, but he dropped out of the EFL in 2018 after being relegated from League Two with Barnet.
The 25-year-old has made his way back up the ladder though and has been a colossal force for the Trotters this season, playing in all 46 league games for the club and for his efforts he was named both the Fans’ and Players’ Player of the Year.
He will now be looking to prove a point as he returns to the third tier of English football, and Santos has promised to show what he’s capable of in the division after his time at Peterborough was cut short.
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“I’m looking forward to it because obviously I played a few games in League One. It didn’t work out as well as I wanted it to work out, but I can’t wait to go next year,” Santos told the club’s YouTube channel, per the MEN.
“I just want to go out there and prove to myself that I’m good enough to play in that league.
“At the time I was at Peterborough I think it was the first professional environment I was in so it didn’t really sink in.
“But obviously I’m mature now and I understand it and I’m more professional now so I can’t wait to get going.”
Santos was a young and inexperienced defender when he played for Peterborough, despite having 63 league appearances to his name for Posh, but there’s no doubting that he’s by far a more accomplished player now.
You don’t sweep the club awards if you don’t have talent, and many good strikers tried and failed to get past the 25-year-old in their matches against Wanderers this season.
It will be interesting to see how he handles stepping up to League One, but the jump between the two divisions isn’t a massive scale and he should be just fine making that transition and he will be hoping to prove Grant McCann – the man who got rid of him at Peterborough – wrong.