A summary of everything that’s ‘gone down’ in my absence
Oh, it is good to be back. Apologies for my lack of recent posts, I`ve been away with very little access to internet/time to write. I hope Tom has looked after you well; the site doesn`t appear to have burned down which is encouraging.
You may well know that I love pre-season. I love watching training, trying to spot new players and looking out for transfer rumours: the exciting, the discouraging and the downright hilarious (it was said that we bade 4.5 million for Daryl Murphy by someone?).
The signings of Gary Madine and Ben Amos had been in the pipeline for a while. My opinion on Madine has changed somewhat: for some reason I now see him as a good, solid capture by the club. I can see him scoring goals for this club. His attitude seems good, and he`s tall and strong, befitting of a lone striker, while his finishing and ability to make runs also means that he`d work playing off someone like Heskey in a two if not playing as the target man. Amos I was always happy with- he`s a good Championship ‘keeper. That`s good. That`s what we need.
Derik Osede is also a name that had been mentioned for a while, and I`m really really exciting about seeing him in a Bolton shirt. He`s built a reputation as an exciting, ball playing defender who can also get stuck in. Having seen him train so far, he does look a little slight which is something that Neil Lennon, Mark Leather and co. will have to monitor and look into but his ability to pass from the back is something special.
Ryan Taylor`s another person who could become a Wanderer this season. He`s also been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest along with Ben Amos. While it makes sense that Dougie Freedman`s been looking at the same players as us due to their similar financial constrictions, I wonder whether they were already players part of the shortlist at Bolton which Neil Lennon inherited? I do know that Neil Lennon parted company with a large number of Freedman`s scouts, but it is a thought.
We`ll also need another ‘keeper as Andy Lonergan was released and has joined Fulham while Adam Bogdan is at Liverpool; also Ross Fitzsimons is not ready to make the step up. Chris Kirkland is reported to have spoken to the club and may join them for training, though 1) he wants first team football, and I don`t think he`ll get it given Amos` presence and 2) I think his wages will be too high for a backup for us. It`ll be interesting to see who we bring in- I reckon Paul Rachubka would be a good suggestion, released by Crewe with experience at this level.
Wilson Palacios and Stephen Dobbie were the new faces in the first training video of pre-season. The former has been declared too unfit, and will not be signing. Meanwhile Dobbie has linked with the first team squad and, from what I`ve seen looks very very sharp. I was as surprised as anyone when I heard of our interest in him, but going by his performances so far in Austria I`d be glad to have him on board.
Zach Clough is also looking sharp, along with Darren Pratley. Liam Trotter has shown that he has a bit more about him which is encouraging, and I do hope that this translates into his match performances. The returning Rob Hall, Jay Spearing and Medo Kamara have been involved: Hall has shown glimpses of the exciting player I thought we`d signed, Spearing`s got stuck in and has been working hard from what I`ve seen and heard and Medo who looks like he`s lost weight has seemed to impress Neil Lennon- well at least in one of the videos there`s about 20 seconds of Neil Lennon shouting ‘Well done Medo` over and over again. It`s worth noting that Niall Maher is with the squad too; his future may well be at Bolton now as a move to Blackpool is probably off given Lee Clark`s resignation. He could prove to be a decent addition to our squad, having picked up Championship experience.
In terms of recent departures, Alex Baptiste has left for a fee reportedly under 100k, which may sound a bit pathetic but at least it has paved a way for Derik Osede whose wages are probably lower and cost no fee. Sanmi Odelusi has gone to Wigan for a similar fee, and Conor Wilkinson looks set for a move to Barnsley? for another similar fee.
So, there you have it. That`s just about everything that`s happened since I`ve been gone. I`d definitely encourage you to tune in to the pre-season footage on the Bolton Wanderers FC YouTube Channel.