Skipper Santos on Oxford showdown and ‘crazy’ Bolton support

Santos played a key role in the promotion from League Two and although Ian Evatt’s squad has kept evolving since then, the skipper has remained a constant in the backline.

The towering centre-back got the chance to lead the Whites out at Wembley against Plymouth last year and is determined to make it another occasion to celebrate. However, he is certainly not taking Oxford lightly.

“Everyone is feeling good and looking strong,” he told The Bolton News. “It is an important day on Saturday, we want to go there and get the job done.

“We are not thinking we will just go there, turn up and win. Oxford are a good side and it is going to be tough.

“It will mean everything to me to lead out the team again and hopefully lift a trophy at the end of the day.”

Santos started the 5-0 league victory against Des Buckingham’s side a couple of months ago, but he insists any previous meetings go out the window as soon as the players step across the white line on Saturday afternoon.

“They have got good wingers and a good midfield,” he added. “They have been conceding less goals recently.

“We are not looking at the 5-0 thinking it will be the same game, because it won’t. It is a cup final and we have got to be ready for everything.

“We have got to try to forget about the 5-0 and focus on ourselves. I know if we do that, we can win.”

It is set to be a big atmosphere, with nearly 60,000 tickets sold between both sets of supporters at the time of writing.

“It is crazy but I didn’t expect anything else,” Santos smiled. “The fans were unbelievable from minute one against Barnsley and I remember from the Papa Johns final, that was crazy.

“I can imagine it will be even better this time! Hopefully, we can go and get the job done so we can celebrate with them.”

He added: “We have got a chilled group here. This means everything to us but we try not to put too much pressure on ourselves.

“Everyone is rallying and keeping each other calm, especially the gaffer. These last few days of training have been excellent and hopefully we can take that into Saturday.”

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