With the first real working day of January for most people on Monday, it could be argued that Bolton have been quick to get off the mark when it comes to getting players in – we’ve only gone and signed three in a day.
Firstly, the one who is probably most ready to go. Ethan Hamilton has signed on loan from Manchester United. Keith Hill knows the midfielder well, having had him on loan at Rochdale in the second half of last season. So far this campaign he has been with Southend, who haven’t had a good season at all, where he scored once in the EFL Trophy. Given our current suspension problems in the middle of the park, and Liam Bridcutt not being around as well, it’s reasonable to assume he’ll go straight into the side to face his former club at Spotland on Saturday.
Muhammadu Faal has also signed, on an 18 month deal. He had been linked with several Premier League clubs, but a promise of first team football has seen him make what could be a shrewd move to League One. He has been scoring goals for fun at Enfield, but that’s in non-league and there will be a step up to make. Furthermore, it’s hard to see him displacing Daryl Murphy just yet, so he’ll be under pressure to make an impact when he gets a chance. Any youngster signing from non-league will get the Next Jamie Vardy tag thrown around, but realistically all we can do is see what he can do when he gets opportunities, and good luck to the lad. It could work out very well, it may not work out.
The third signing is George Thomason – described by the club as a midfield playmaker. He comes from Longridge Town in the North West Counties Premier Division – and while he has signed a professional contract – “I’m buzzing to just kick on,” he told the official website, I would guess he’ll be one of those signings who initially does his time for the Under-23s, especially given our squad constraints.
While there does seem to be an eye on the future with Faal and Thomason, and that isn’t exactly a daft thing to be doing, it’s good to see we’ve made an early start in terms of January recruitment. By all means, it seems set to be a busy week on that front, with Jimmy Dunne and David Wheater heavily linked to be coming in. Not much has been made about Dunne, but the Burnley youngster already has experience on loan in this league with Fleetwood and Sunderland, while Wheater coming back will give some fans a boost, but there are also those who would like to see us move on. As a January signing, we could do far worse.