New writer Tom Bevington’s first article
With 13 players being released late last week, and several others yet to agree deals, who do we have left at Bolton?
In the net we`ve got Ross Fitzsimons. Having seen very little of him its clear we`re going to need to sign at least one keeper. I`d rather we go with Amos, he`s got atleast 10 years of goalkeeping left in him, and we`d save some money without having to dig deep for Bogdan`s wage.
At the back we`ve got first team regulars Ream, Moxey, Wheater, and Dervite. They could make up 3 of a 4 man defence, Hayden White could step in at right back, or Andy Kellett could see a first team birth but either way we need 2 or 3 to come in with first team experience.
With Craig Morgan turning down a renewal at Rotherham it`s looking like he could become a Wanderer next season. Reports suggest he is a decent Championship centre back. He`s good aerially and has a meaty tackle but he doesn’t have any high level experience and I`m not sure if he can be the defensive stalwart we need to push us towards the playoffs. Only time will tell and I hope he proves me wrong.
It looks like we`re lacking width in the middle of the park, with Feeney being our only wide man. Max Clayton has spoken about playing deeper than the no. 9 role so we might see him on the left side next season. He certainly shone during his few games before injury, and played brilliantly on the left side against Wigan before capping his performance off with a composed finish. Rob Hall is another young wide man but don`t know where he`ll be playing his football next season.
In the centre of midfield we`ve got Mavies, if he can stay fit all season who knows how far the team can go? We`ve also got Vela who is now well established in the side, and ideally will play in his actual position so we can get a proper taste of him. Hopefully we get Pratley to sign after his resurgence last season, everyone knows he can run for miles but it was great to see him add a few goals, hopefully it continues. Filip Twardzik came in January, and as he wasn`t just a free transfer it
is fair to assume he can play a substantial role at some point, despite how little we`ve seen of him thus far. Tom Walker is another one of those youngsters who has had a taste of first team action, so I`d expect to see more of him next season. Hopefully he can score in the big games as he managed last season, perhaps against
Wigan again? Oh wait.
Up front we`ve got the man with the weight of Bolton on his shoulders, Zach Clough. I think it`s important he isn’t made to feel under pressure despite what I just said. He`s only young and I think people forget just how little first team football he has actually played. Clearly he`s shown he has ability, and his potential is unlimited, but we shouldn’t be expectant yet. He probably won`t be playing up front though, he like Clayton, is one who prefers to play just behind rather than up top
on his own.
In addition we`ve only got more youngsters like, Kaiyne Woolery and Conor Wilkinson. A recent interview in The Bolton News from Wilkinson`s manager at loan club Oldham suggests he is ready to step up, but we still need a more proven goal scorer.
The chances of seeing Adam Le Fondre in a Bolton shirt are low, and completely dependent on the any outside investment coming in. Even if we do see some money come in, it`s clear that we need more than just a striker so it might be better to spread the cash out a bit. Unless Christmas comes five times over we probably won`t be able to do both.
It seems likely Gudjohnsen and Heskey will also sign but this is football we`re talking about so who knows? Additionally we`ve been strongly linked with Sergi Enrich, who plies his trade in La Liga Adelante, and Gary Madine. After completing
his medical this week, Madine is the more likely to be on his way up the M61. His Twitter account suggests he`ll be fun for us fans if he can`t win us over on the pitch.
In total it looks like we`ll need a minimum of 5 new players – just what NL said at the end of the season – or at most 8. We`ll be relying on youth no matter what happens, but the club set out to improve its ability to churn out first team academy
graduates and no one can fault them for their success in doing so.
Whether this all works out remains to be seen but if we`re going to contend for a play off place, then we better hope it does.
Who do you think we need to bring in next season? Let us know by commenting below or tweet us @VitalBolton